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Peninsula Regional Medical Center will be featured in a presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference, being held in Washington, D.C. October 24-27. Dr. Nahid Rostami, MD, a neonatology specialist from Children’s National Health System who  treats young patients at Peninsula Regional’s Special Care Nursery, and Diane Hitchens, RN, Director of Women’s & Children’s Services at Peninsula Regional, will present their abstract at the AAP conference. The abstract focuses on “Length of Hospital Stay in Infants Treated for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Peninsula Regional Medical Center” in comparison to the national standards. “Dr. Rostami and I wanted to compare the maternal drug use and the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome at PRMC to the national average,” Hitchens explained “A retrospective study was done with data from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013. The results demonstrated up to a tenfold increase in maternal drug use compared to the national average statistics which were last reported in 2009.” The national trend is also on the rise. “In the U.S. in the past 10 years, the number of babies exposed to drugs is getting higher nationally, sometimes more than 10 times higher,” Dr. Rostami said. “Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s rate is a little higher than national average.” The study, she said, can help improve the guidelines for treatment of these babies, and hopefully help them to leave the hospital sooner. But one key, she said, is prevention. “When women are using drugs and realize they’re pregnant, it’s important for them to get into programs to help wean them off the drugs so the baby will have less symptoms. Some drugs can cause permanent damage, so the sooner they start getting help, the better.” Hitchens said she hopes the study will help care here at Peninsula Regional. “I believe that we need a standard method of drug testing to fully understand the incidence of this epidemic. Babies going through withdrawal deserve a multidisciplinary, compassionate treatment plan.” Rostami and Hitchens will both attend the national conference to discuss their findings.