5 Suggestions for Improving the Health of Babies

Articles we have been reading this past week of February 12, 2018 provide 5 suggestions for improving the health of babies.

#1 – Exercise the Appropriate Standards of Care

PPAHS has been following the case of Amber Athwal, who suffered brain damage after undergoing dental surgery to extract some of her teeth.

Amber Athwal and her mother in June 2017. Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/william-mather-amber-athwal-brain-damage-dental-college-tribunal-1.4539416
Amber Athwal and her mother in June 2017. Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/william-mather-amber-athwal-brain-damage-dental-college-tribunal-1.4539416

The Alberta Dental Association and College ruled that “after Amber suffered cardiac arrest and stopped breathing in the recovery room, Mather’s response to the emergency, including his resuscitation effort, was inadequate” and found that the dentist:

  • Failed to obtain informed consent from Amber’s parents, including “failing to discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and general anesthesia.”
  • Failed to establish Amber’s “NPO status,” including time of last food and drink. NPO is an acronym for the Latin phrase nil per os, which means “nothing through the mouth.”
  • Failed to ensure that anesthetic gases were turned off before leaving the operation room.
  • Failed to maintain Amber’s IV during her post-treatment recovery.
  • Failed to properly monitor Amber’s vital signs during and after treatment.
  • Failed to ensure that Amber was continuously monitored by “competent and qualified” recovery room personnel.
  • Failed to ensure that a physical examination was completed, including the pre-anesthesia assessment.
Exercise the Appropriate Standards of Care to Improve the Health of #Babies #patientsafety Click To Tweet
#2 – Don’t Let Fetal Alcohol Disorder Go Undiagnosed

According to a study conducted by Philip A. May, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health, and his colleagues, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders could affect up to 1 in 20 children, indicating that:

“These data confirm that missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of children are common,” the authors wrote, pointing to a previous study in U.S. schoolchildren that found only one in seven children identified as having fetal alcohol syndrome had been previously diagnosed.

Don’t Let #Fetal #Alcohol Disorder Go Undiagnosed #patientsafety Click To Tweet
#3 – Don’t Allow Addicted Babies to Go into Full Withdrawal

The standard practice is to let babies born addicted to allow them to go into withdrawal, which can cause unnecessary suffering in babies:

A baby born to a drug-addicted mom can suffer tremors, sleeplessness, muscle stiffness and other symptoms of withdrawal.

She might wail uncontrollably, be unable to relax or refuse to eat.

She might even have seizures.

And the traditional medical response has been to allow these infants to go into full withdrawal before treating them.

However,Dr. Jennifer Hudson, medical director of newborn services at Greenville Memorial Hospital is trying a different approach:

She began giving these tiny patients small doses of methadone from the time they were born to ease or prevent the agony associated with withdrawal. The results were promising …

“To have these babies suffer — when we can ease or even eliminate it — is cruel and unnecessary,” Hudson said. “Newborns deserve early and effective treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome just as much as they do for non-drug-related pain.”

Don’t Allow Addicted Babies to Go into Full Withdrawal #opioidepidemic Click To Tweet
#4 – Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors

Everyone needs to do their part in helping to end the opioid epidemic. One opioid manufacturer recently announced that it would stop marketing opioids to U.S. doctors:

The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, bowing to a key demand of lawsuits that blame the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic.

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#5 – Build Bonds Between Separated Moms and Their Babies

For various medical reasons, newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are often admitted into a special area of the hospital called the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). As reported by the Orlando Medical News:

Every year, 380,000 babies in the United States come to the world weeks earlier than anticipated, which means their bodies are not ready for all the stimulation that’s waiting for them in the world, according to March of Dimes.

To help foster bonds between the newborn babies and their mothers, volunteers at Florida Hospital for Children have been sewing hearts for NICU babies and their mothers:

Sewn by volunteers, sets of hearts are donated to mothers of babies being treated at Florida Hospital for Children’s neonatal intensive care unit. One heart is worn by the mom and the other by the baby for 24 hours to ensure their scent is embedded in the material. After that, the hearts are swapped, allowing the mom and baby to sense a part of each other despite physical separation.

Build Bonds Between Separated Moms and Their #Babies #patientsafety Click To Tweet

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