Saturday, May 2, 2009

A new norm

As I closed my eyes after the last twenty-four hour shift as an OB hospitalist the realization hit me concerning my new patient population. My final delivery of the night was one of a 16 year old having her first baby with her mother and her older sister in attendance. If she had delivered yesterday she would have been 15 when her first baby was born.

The baby weighed 4 pounds and 11 ounces. Small in size due to the fact that she was six weeks early, the early arrival was due to the fact that her mother and her aunt, her mother's older sister were smoking pot and doing lines of cocaine last night just before the bag of waters broke. The patient unabashedly told me this story which was confirmed by the urine drug screen.

This is the new norm for me. Teenage moms, positive drug screens, no fathers in the picture. No one employed, no insurance, the government attempting to pick up the tab.

Today social services have been notified. The patient and I have discussed and she has agreed to injectable contraception that will last for three months following discharge. Still I have the feeling that this entire screen will repeat itself in her life all too soon.

And what will happen to this baby. Born six weeks early, withdrawing from drugs to a single teenage mother living with her single grandmother. How will she ever have a chance?
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to a different world. It's one that's all too common. Thank you for doing your part to change it.