In January, Lawrence General hosted a team from Time magazine who were following an expectant mother on methadone who is living with a foster family in the area. The three-person Time crew was at Lawrence General to document the newborn baby’s first breath after a C-section, and to spend time with the family post-delivery. This is just one of many stories in a special issue of Time focused entirely on the national opioid epidemic, due out on March 5.
In advance of the printed version of Time magazine, the coverage also includes an online blog by acclaimed photojournalist James Nachtwey and a series of videos—both of which are now available to the public on theTime website. Click here to view.
While this coverage of the opioid epidemic in Time is difficult and often deeply disturbing, Lawrence General is privileged to have contributed a hopeful story to the mix. Our work caring for newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is featured in the video, “Born in Withdrawal,” as well as in the photo diary of James Nachtwey. An article is also expected to be included in the print version of Time in March.
Lawrence General / Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a condition caused when a newborn suffers from opioid withdrawal after birth. It is most often caused when a mother takes illicit opioids during pregnancy, but can also be associated with opioids prescribed to treat addiction, such as methadone. The symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome vary for each baby, but often include body shakes, seizures, overactive reflexes, fussiness, excessive crying, poor feeding, slow weight gain, and breathing problems.
In 2016, Lawrence General received a $250,000 grant from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission to expand and enhance services for these vulnerable newborns and their families. Since receiving the grant, a number of new initiatives have been rolled out focused on increasing parent-baby interactions and parental presence at the bedside, as well as promoting the benefits of breast-feeding and human contact. As a result of these efforts, the average length of stay in the hospital for these babies has decreased by more than 50 percent.
Click here for more information on the Lawrence General Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program.