Pueblo hospital needs volunteers to cuddle opioid-addicted babies

PUEBLO, Colo. - The St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo is asking for volunteers to help soothe babies that have been born addicted to heroin and other opioids. 

Research has shown that infant opioid withdrawal has increased fivefold nationwide in the last 10 years. With this high number, it can be hard to have enough staff to give the needed attention each child requires.

Paulette Mapes told our partners at the Pueblo Chieftain that the hospital sometimes has up to six babies going through withdrawal. 

This is why they need the help. Babies going through withdrawal are usually very fussy and distressed. They show several symptoms including:

  • Crying
  • Trembling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble eating.

Some infants require medication, but calming techniques such as swaddling and rocking can help with the symptoms. 

“Our hope is to have a 24/7, 365 availability (of on-call volunteers) so if this baby’s having a rough time, we can have someone who can love on the baby,” Mapes told the Chieftain.

Volunteer Services Manager Sherri Lombard has heard from thousands of people across the state and currently has them going through a screening, but they are still asking for volunteers. 

Lombard added that it is hard to find people who are available in the evening and overnight hours, so she encourages those who don't mind late-night calls to apply.

Anyone who’s interested in being a volunteer is asked to contact St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center at 719-557-5685 or stop by the hospital to pick up an application.

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