FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
$2.5 Million Donation Helps Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Expand Services for Babies Affected by Opioid Exposure
St. Petersburg, Fla. – March 27, 2017 – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital received a 2.5 million dollar donation from an anonymous donor to expand services to treat babies exposed to opioids and other drugs in utero. The donation will be used to open a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Follow-up Clinic on the main campus in St. Petersburg, as well as to enhance services at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s NAS Specialty Clinic in Sarasota, which opened in 2013.
“It’s hard to overstate the relevance or the impact of this generous donation,” said Jenine Rabin, executive vice president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation. “At a time when so many in our communities are struggling with opioid addiction, these funds will bring critical services to the babies and young children who may suffer the serious, long-term effects of exposure to these drugs. This gift gives these little ones more than a fighting chance for a healthy life.”
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a withdrawal syndrome of infants after birth as a result of exposure to opioids and other drugs in the womb. The number of cases in Florida has followed the pattern of exponential growth seen nationwide. In 2016, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, 4,215 babies were born in Florida with exposure in the womb to addictive drugs. That is a 69 percent increase over the prior year. Hillsborough County led the state with 579 NAS babies, Pinellas County was no. 6 (176) and Sarasota County was no. 15 (114).
“It is unclear how exposure to these medications affects a child’s development. That is where the NAS Follow-up Clinic can make a real difference,” said Katie Wooten, B.S.N., R.N., coordinator for both clinics. “Johns Hopkins All Children’s is able to offer the expertise and monitoring essential to evaluating physical and cognitive issues that may arise.”
The NAS Specialty Clinics will treat babies who have been exposed to drugs in utero including prescription medicines, methadone, heroin and other drugs. Pediatricians, a nurse practitioner, and a neurodevelopment psychologist will be on staff as part of the program. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy will also play a role, with follow-up through age 5.
“Johns Hopkins All Children’s has been treating babies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome successfully for many years now, in response to the growing opioid addiction problem,” said Prabhu Parimi, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute. “This gift will help us to bridge the gaps, and provide care that will allow these babies to truly thrive.”
Learn more about the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Clinic.
About Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg is a leader in children’s health care, combining a legacy of compassionate care focused solely on children since 1926 with the innovation and experience of one of the world’s leading health care systems. The 259-bed teaching hospital, ranked as a U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital, stands at the forefront of discovery, leading innovative research to cure and prevent childhood diseases while training the next generation of pediatric experts. With a network of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care centers and collaborative care provided by All Children’s Specialty Physicians at regional hospitals, Johns Hopkins All Children’s brings care closer to home. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital consistently keeps the patient and family at the center of care while continuing to expand its mission in treatment, research, education and advocacy. For more information, visit HopkinsAllChildrens.org.