Aiden – 1½ Years Old, NICU Patient
“They took care of him, but they also took care of me. I’ve been a nurse a long time and the staff is the most caring, most compassionate I’ve seen.”
Aiden’s NICU story
Aiden was one of the statistics you see in the news.
Born addicted to the drugs his mother took while she was pregnant, he spent the beginning of his life in the specially-designed unit for babies suffering from drug withdrawal, called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), in Niswonger Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Despite his heartbreaking start to life, Aiden had two things going for him that have led him to be the happy tow-headed boy with the crooked smile he is today at 1½ years old.
First, he had a loving aunt willing to step in and give him what he needed most: love, nurturing and time. Susan, a hospice nurse, and her partner Julie had already adopted one NAS baby and knew what he needed and what was in store. Pediatrician Dr. Shawn Hollinger attributed Aiden’s rapid weaning from morphine during his early days to their loving care.
Secondly, he had access to the specialized medical care he needed at the unit designated just for drug-addicted babies in the NAS Unit at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. “Caring for an NAS baby is hard and the nurses could see when I needed a break,” says Susan. “They took care of him, but they also took care of me. I’ve been a nurse a long time and the staff is the most caring, most compassionate I’ve seen. They were wonderful.”
Though he still needs specialized care due to the effects of drug exposure, such as Bell’s Palsy (which gives Aiden his crooked smile), and feeding and speech issues, Aiden is as smart as a whip, Susan says.
“Cognitively, he’s 100 percent and has amazing fine motor skills. I think he will be a doctor!”
About Niswonger Children’s
In 2004, our region embraced a vision to serve our children and help them build healthier futures through the creation of a children’s hospital. Now a reality, Niswonger Children’s Hospital provides care for more than 200,000 children living in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Learn more about Niswonger Children’s Hospital.