According to a recent study, a baby with an opioid addiction is born every 25 minutes in the United States. The medical diagnosis is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or NAS. Symptoms of NAS are infants being fussy, inconsolable, or having difficulty sleeping. Commonly described as a colicky baby times five. Also, infants can have feeding problems severe enough to require a feeding tube. Additionally, infants are more likely to have breathing problems and possibly seizures.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center's NICU is tasked with treating newborns in Middle Tennessee with NAS. Neonatologist Dr. Stephen Patrick says, "the area that we live in here in Tennessee has a rate of NAS about three times the national average." NICU Staff Leader Caitlin Pugh has started a NAS taskforce which set up a standardized scoring system to track the baby's progress. The goal being to get the Mother and baby well so they can stay together. The taskforce also provides emotional support for the nurses involved. Caitlin Pugh's team is busy with the growing number of NAS cases. The complete treatment is a true team effort amongst nurses, doctors, social workers, & case managers.
Source: WKRN Nashville