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Partnership to aid drug-exposed babies

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A recent agreement between Cabell Huntington Hospital and a local pediatric addiction recovery center will help treat babies exposed to drugs in the womb.

The hospital announced its partnership Tuesday with Lily's Place. An opening date is not yet set in stone, but once state and federal regulatory agencies approve a date and Lily's Place opens, Cabell Huntington nurses will provide care for up to 29 newborns, according to a news release.

Hospital officials said Cabell Huntington will provide operational/management support and clinical staff to provide short-term care for Lily's Place.

According to the release, Lily's Place will continue to provide volunteer support and community outreach. It also will seek grants.

Babies will start at Cabell Huntington's Neonatal Therapeutic Unit and transfer to Lily's Place before going home.

Brent Marsteller, Cabell Huntington's president and CEO, said hospital officials realized more than two years ago how much the problem of prenatal drug exposure had grown. Since then, he said, the hospital has worked to address the problem.

"Our partnership with Lily's Place is a further investment of our resources and we feel it is our obligation to provide the specialized care these fragile babies need," Marsteller said in the release. "Lily's Place is an extension of our Neonatal Therapeutic Unit where our specially trained nurses provide a high level of care for these babies each day."

According to the release, Sean Loudin, a fellowship-trained neonatologist, will serve as medical director of Lily's Place.

The release credits leadership from Mary Calhoun Brown, a former Cabell Huntington volunteer, and efforts from several volunteers in transforming Lily's Place's facility from a medical office building.

"This partnership is a display of how community organizations are locking arms to do what is best for these babies," Brown, a founding board member and volunteer at Lily's Place, said in the release. "We are getting closer to opening the facility we set out to create. Through the experienced medical care from Cabell Huntington Hospital physicians and nurses, addiction counseling services through Prestera and the passion of our community volunteers, this will be a special and unique place for these babies and families to prepare to go to a safe and drug-free home."

For information about Lily's Place or to find out about volunteering opportunities, call 304-523-5459. For nursing opportunities at Lily's Place, visit www.cabellhuntington.org.

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.


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