Hospital uses new approach to treating chemically-dependent newborns | KOB 4

Hospital uses new approach to treating chemically-dependent newborns

Emily Jaceks
September 27, 2018 07:11 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - “We'll have times that we'll have six to eight babies that are withdrawing,” Dr. Larry Leeman, Medical Director of the Milagro Clinic, and physician and UNM Hospital said.


Dr. Leeman is describing one of the units at UNM Hospital where babies come to try and end their chemical dependency.

“This may be a situation where a baby, let's say they’re flown in from a rural area and their mom is not going to be a patient here so the baby would be in this unit,” Dr. Leeman said.

It's a soothing environment where round the clock care is given and medication can be administered.

"We're using mostly using morphine. Morphine that's given by drops to the babies every three to four hours,” Dr. Leeman said.

But it's not the preferred method of treatment.

“How do babies get calm? They breastfeed, they are with their mom, they’re held. So we're trying to do that as a first line approach,” Dr. Leeman said.

He said the standard of care for these newborns has changed dramatically over the years. By keeping mom and baby together, and going the non-medication route, the two see greater results.

“We often can have babies go home at four days. And once you start doing treatment pharmacologically, you're talking an average of 10 to 12 days,’ Dr. Leeman said.

Less stress on the baby, big financial savings for the family, and a better outcome for mom and baby.


Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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