Swedes says about their Oncology services, “Our spacious chemotherapy suite has 50 private and semi-private infusion chairs, giving patients the flexibility to choose the most comfortable treatment environment. Chemotherapy treatments are administered by certified nurses. Laboratory and radiology services are provided on-site, along with a retail pharmacy for both oncology and over-the-counter medications. Support services include free chair massages and other holistic services during treatment. In addition to our physicians, our medical oncology staff also includes two clinical research nurses who offer patients an opportunity to participate in clinical studies. Care and education is individualized to meet the needs of the patient and family.”
As shared on the SwedishAmerican website, this is Debbie’s story.
Whenever I reflect on my journey with breast cancer, I hardly remember the surgery, the hair falling out, how sick I felt on chemo or how tired I really was from radiation. No, I don’t think of those things at all. What I remember most was the warm embrace my family and I received from the great community of Rockford in general, and SwedishAmerican Hospital in particular.
You see, my family and I had not been in Rockford four months when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We hardly knew anyone, save for the people I worked with. My children were just beginning to form new friendships at school, and we were just getting to know our neighbors, who had so graciously welcomed us to our new neighborhood. My sister had died from Breast Cancer five years prior, so we understood the challenge before us.
Without a doubt, I know that I have received the best medical care around-from Dr. Bonelli, who read through my historically difficult mammograms to see the malignancy, Dr. Brogren who afforded me the best surgical outcome possible, and my dearest friends who stood with me thru the biopsies. Dr. Wetzel would not permit me to wallow in the mire; she reminded me that I had a high school graduation to attend in a few years and that she and I BOTH would be there. My oncologist offered me a cutting-edge chemo regimen, which allowed me to return to work sooner than would have been possible otherwise.
My greatest fears of not being able to care for my family were never realized because this great community stepped right in and held us together, supported us, and nurtured me back to health. The story to be told is that of Rockford and SwedishAmerican Hospital, and how they opened their doors and hearts to strangers in our greatest time of need. That is the real story to be told. And what a great story it really is!
About 30% of Boone County CASA’s cases this year have come into care due to a parent’s drug use. If you were to count cases that came for other reasons, such as domestic violence or lack of supervision, in which drug use was later discovered as a presenting problem for the family that percentage would be even higher.
And it’s not just one, prevalent drug. Children have come in after witnessing their parents use cocaine, heroin, drink alcohol to the point of not being able to stand, synthetic marijuana, and others.
The issue is so prevalent that drugabuse.gov states that, “Every 25 minutes, 1 baby is born suffering from opiate withdrawal.” It also goes on to say, “About 1 in 9 youth or 11.4 percent of young people aged 12 to 25 used prescription drugs nonmedically within the past year.”
Babies who are born drug exposed tend to stay in the hospital 8x longer than healthy babies. They also can be harder babies to care for; premature, fussy, sensitive to food and stimuli due to their intoxication in utero. Sciencedirect.com confirms this when it states, “in utero drug exposure can have a severe impact not only on the development of the fetus, but also on the child during later stages of life. More than 75% of infants exposed to drugs have major medical problems as compared to 27% of unexposed infants. The cost of treating drug-affected infants was twice the cost of non-affected infants. Obstetrical complications including placental insufficiency, miscarriage, intrauterine death, and increased incidence of infectious and sexually-transmitted diseases are higher in the drug-abusing mother.”
Is it getting better? Not according to TIME Magazine which says, “The number of babies experiencing drug-related symptoms after birth has risen by 45% since 1995, according to data compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.”
For older children who live in a house with a parent abusing drugs, their outcomes aren’t much brighter. At http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64258/ it says, “These data show that a parent’s alcohol problem can have cognitive, behavioral, psychosocial, and emotional consequences for children. Among the lifelong problems documented are impaired learning capacity; a propensity to develop a substance use disorder; adjustment problems, including increased rates of divorce, violence, and the need for control in relationships; and other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and low self‐esteem.”
These are the laws that govern when drug abuse is child abuse in the state of Illinois, as listed on https://childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/drugexposed.pdf#page=2&view=Children Exposed to Illegal Drug Activity-
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. Ch. 705, § 405/2-3(1)(c) (LexisNexis through 2012 Reg. Sess.) Those who are neglected include any newborn infant whose blood, urine, or meconium contains any amount of a controlled substance as defined in § 102(f) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or a metabolite of a controlled substance, with the exception of controlled substances or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which in the newborn infant is the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant.
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. Ch. 325, § 5/3 (LexisNexis through 2012 Reg. Sess.) ‘Abused child’ means a child whose parent or immediate family member, or any person responsible for the child’s welfare, or any individual residing in the same home as the child, or a paramour of the child’s parent causes to be sold, transferred, distributed, or given to such child under age 18 a controlled substance, as defined by law, or in violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, except for controlled substances that are prescribed in accordance with the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and are dispensed to such child in a manner that substantially complies with the prescription. ‘Neglected child’ means any child who is not receiving the proper or necessary nourishment or medically indicated treatment, including food or care not provided solely on the basis of the present or anticipated mental or physical impairment as determined by a physician acting alone or in consultation with other physicians, or otherwise is not receiving the proper or necessary support or medical or other remedial care recognized under State law as necessary for a child’s well-being, or other care necessary for his or her well-being, including adequate food, clothing, and shelter; or who is abandoned by his or her parents or other person responsible for the child’s welfare without a proper plan of care; or who is a newborn infant whose blood, urine, or meconium contains any amount of a controlled substance as defined in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act or a metabolite thereof.
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. Ch. 325, § 5/7.3b (LexisNexis through 2012 Reg. Sess.) All persons required to report may refer to the Department of Human Services any pregnant person in this State who is addicted as defined in the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act. The Department of Human Services shall notify the local Infant Mortality Reduction Network service provider or department-funded prenatal care provider in the area in which the person resides. The service provider shall prepare a case management plan and assist the pregnant woman in obtaining counseling and treatment from a local substance abuse service provider licensed by the Department of Human Services or a licensed hospital that provides substance abuse treatment services. The local Infant Mortality Reduction Network service provider and department-funded prenatal care provider shall monitor the pregnant woman through the service program.
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann., Ch. 720, § 646/50 (LexisNexis through 2012 Reg. Sess.) Methamphetamine-related child endangerment: • It is unlawful to engage in methamphetamine-related child endangerment. A person engages in methamphetamine-related child endangerment when the person knowingly endangers the life and health of a child by exposing or allowing exposure of the child to a methamphetamine-manufacturing environment. • A person who violates this paragraph is guilty of a Class 2 felony. Aggravated methamphetamine-related child endangerment: • It is unlawful to engage in aggravated methamphetamine-related child endangerment. A person engages in aggravated methamphetamine-related child endangerment when the person [commits methamphetamine-related child endangerment] and the child experiences death, great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement as a result of the methamphetamine-related child endangerment. • A person who violates this paragraph is guilty of a Class X felony, subject to a term of imprisonment of not less than 6 years and not more than 30 years, and subject to a fine not to exceed $100,000.
This article was first posted at http://www.tlc4kids.org/services/foster-care-success-stories.
We react with horror when we learn of babies discarded in dumpsters or born addicted to drugs. We wonder how a mother could do such a wretched thing, and we worry about what is in store for the infants. One tiny victim of such a beginning may now have a bright future. Christian took his earliest breaths in a dumpster on a cold November day. For over seven and a half hours, the newborn fought to survive. He suﬀered a stroke. Blood coagulated in his brain and left a hole. By the time he was rescued, his body had begun shutting down. He wasn’t expected to live, but if he did survive, he would likely have serious brain damage. But he was a ﬁghter, and before long he was in a foster home awaiting adoption.
Laura and Francisco Cousineau began the adoption process with the thought they would consider only children with mild or no disabilities. But when Laura saw a photo of Christian, she saw her son, and his list of disabilities and longterm prognosis didn’t scare her or Francisco. Christian was six months old when they met him, and he went home with them a month later. From the minute he came home, Laura and Francisco knew their son was capable of more than his medical records indicated. They were told he wouldn’t walk until he was maybe four, if at all. They were told he might never talk. He would always need a tremendous amount of care.
“I used my head and my imagination to come up with things for him to do and I gave him lots of love,” said Laura.
She began moving his arms and legs and pulling him into the sitting position. She talked to him as if he were capable of understanding. She read to him. Within weeks of coming home, Christian was able to sit up and reach for things. He could say “daddy” and a few other simple words. By his ﬁrst birthday, he could say quite a lot. At 14 months, he started walking. He celebrated his second birthday last month and Laura says he is almost completely potty trained. He is developmentally “normal” for his age! But more than anything, Laura says, he’s a happy little boy. Christian was adopted on March 26, 2008 and in October there was a new source of happiness for Christian: seven-month-old Jasmine. He calls her his sister, and likes entertaining her by singing and dancing. Jasmine was exposed to drugs in-utero and survived a traumatic birth: she has brain damage and global developmental delays. Laura and Francisco give her the best of care and adopted her on October 16, 2009.
The article goes on to say that, “A national survey in 2007 revealed that 48 million Americans have considered foster care adoption, yet too many have misperceptions about the process and the children who are eligible for adoption. We know that the adoption process might appear to be complex, confusing and daunting. We continue our outreach to the community to let them know that children need homes, it is not too diﬃcult to adopt and WE CAN HELP!”
WIC is a government funded program with the initiative that follows, “The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a short-term intervention program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behaviors in a targeted, high-risk population.”
The WIC website goes on to state
What are WIC Health Outcomes?
Numerous studies show that WIC is effective and helps:
- Reduce premature births
- Reduce low and very low birth-weight babies
- Reduce fetal and infant deaths
- Reduce the incidence of low-iron anemia
- Increase access to prenatal care earlier in pregnancy
- Increase pregnant women’s consumption of key nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, and Vitamins A and C
- Increase immunization rates
- Improve diet quality
- Increase access to regular health care
Also, we have a WIC program right here in Boone County. See below for details.