Medicine: Born Addicts

Though U.S. narcotics addiction is rising, physicians are still often unprepared for one poignant aspect: the newborn babies of addicted women. If the mother's dosage has been recent, her baby suffers drastic toxic effects, and often dies. The infant's symptoms resemble those of agonized adult withdrawal: convulsions, no appetite, bluish pallor, heavy sweating, endless, high-pitched crying. Since a pregnant woman addict may look quite normal—and rarely reveals her habit—the doctor is likely at first to suspect other ailments with similar symptoms, e.g., calcium deficiency. Proper treatment may be too late to prevent fatal respiratory failure.

The problem is growing, says Manhattan Pediatrician...

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