Nine Tri-State area hospitals have begun universal drug testing to combat a growing epidemic of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), or babies born addicted to drugs.
According to the Greater Cincinnati Health Council, the Cincinnati area has seen a fivefold increase in NAS over the past five years. Across the Tri-State, the number of babies born dependent on drugs has more than tripled to 36 per 1,000 births in 2012 --- Compared to 11 per 1,000 births in 2009.
The Greater Cincinnati Health Council works with hospitals in the region and collaborated with member hospitals to identify strategies to best serve these babies, one of those being universal drug testing of mothers.
Officials say mothers will take the test once they're admitted into the maternity ward before delivery. A positive test will enable doctors to immediately begin treating the infant.
Mothers will be
informed of this test and other lab tests performed before delivery, and as with
any medical procedure, have the right to refuse.
testing is designed to help the family, the mother and the infant. It ensures
that the hospital can monitor the infant after birth and provide the appropriate
care if the infant begins to show withdrawal symptoms," said Scott Wexelblatt,
MD, medical director of Regional Newborn Services at Cincinnati Children's
Hospital Medical Center.
According to Health Council officials, infants exposed
to any narcotic in utero are at risk for NAS. Symptoms can include excessive crying, abnormal muscle tone, feeding difficulties and even seizures
in some cases due to narcotic withdrawal following delivery. These symptoms often appear 2-7 days after delivery.
"One of our
main goals with this program is to identify and implement the best practice of
care for this group of infants," said Dr. Wexelblatt who is working with
leaders from five other children's hospitals in the state at the request of
Gov. Kasich to address this issue.
Hospitals that have implemented universal drug testing:
Fort Hamilton Hospital
Highland District Hospital
Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital
Mercy Health – Fairfield Hospital
St. Elizabeth Edgewood
The Christ Hospital
TriHealth's Bethesda North Hospital
TriHealth's Good Samaritan Hospital
UC Health – University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Read additional information at the Greater Cincinnati Health Council's website: http://www.gchc.org
Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:29:38 GMT
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