One local family is taking their story to Capitol Hill to deliver an important message to their members of Congress. Nationwide Children’s Hospital patient, Jack Baker, 2 and his family will join nearly 50 other pediatric patients and their families to meet with members of Congress and share their personal health experiences as part of the 2015 Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day, taking place June 15-16 in Washington, D.C.
Every 20 minutes, a baby was born addicted to legal or illegal drugs and alcohol in the United States in 2009, an increase from every hour in 2000, according to a research study published earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine. Unfortunately, Jack, too, was born dependent on drugs in October of 2012 and that is why the Baker family will travel to Washington D.C., to help support the “Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015,” which is backed by Congressman Steve Stivers (Ohio’s 15th Congressional District). The legislation, introduced March 19, focuses on combatting the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). By concentrating on women of childbearing age, pregnant women and infants from preconception through early childhood, the act will encourage the development of a thorough strategy and coordination of Federal efforts, supported by extensive research and data, to better serve women and children in this demographic.
Shortly after his birth, Jack began experiencing symptoms of NAS and spent 22 days in The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.Upon discharge, Jack quickly benefitted from The Fostering Connections Program, a specialized foster care clinic providing a medical home at The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s. Overall, the care and support Jack and his adoptive family have received at Nationwide Children’s has helped Jack reach his potential and has connected him to other services and therapies, including Help Me Grow and Early Intervention Preschool.
Jack is now a happy, healthy 2-year-old and has not let a tough start to life keep him from doing most things a typical toddler would do, including playing with his older brother Anthony, 6, sisters Lucy, 4 and Emma, 3 and his puppy Clementine. Jack loves swimming, being outdoors, stacking mega blocks, snuggling with his parents, Carrie and Dan, and getting messy.
“Jack has taught our whole family to be strong and hopeful, to relax more and never to be afraid to try and learn new things,” said Carrie. “He approaches every new challenge, every milestone with a smile and fierce determination.
Babies born dependent on drugs and alcohol have become more prevalent, in all communities, across Ohio and the country. It is important to share our story so that other families and caregivers who are caring for a child who was born with NAS know they aren’t alone. We couldn’t be more appreciative to our Nationwide Children’s Hospital team for their support of Jack and our entire family.”
“It is of great importance to ensure every child is born as healthy as possible,” said Steve Allen, MD, Nationwide Children’s CEO “With the support and collaboration of Congress, health care providers, hospitals and other treatment facilities, reducing the number of children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is possible. Focusing on NAS awareness and prevention is one of the best investments our nation’s leaders can make in the future of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association advances child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Representing more than 220 children’s hospitals, the Association is the voice of children’s hospitals nationally. The Association advances public policy enabling hospitals to better serve children, and is the premier resource for pediatric data and analytics driving improved clinical and operational performance of member hospitals.
For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit https://www.childrenshospitals.org/, or follow the families on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/speaknowforkidsor Twitter, @speaknowforkids, #speaknowforkids.
Note to editors: Jack Baker is a resident of Clintonville, 43214