Tennessee hospital treats drug-dependent babies

POSTED: 4:59 AM May 13 2013   UPDATED: 3:02 PM May 13 2013

East Tennessee Children's Hospital has treated so many babies born dependent on prescription drugs that the facility is now helping other medical centers around the country deal with the crisis.

The hospital in Knoxville is on the front lines of the crisis of newborns suffering from dependence as a result of their mothers abusing prescription drugs while pregnant. As a result, it has developed protocols for treatment.    

The hospital has treated more than 500 babies since 2008 who are suffering from what is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. It is now averaging almost one a day.  

Staff members say babies can suffer immensely when in withdrawal. They are often inconsolable and have nausea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps. The worst cases can have seizures.