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Sullivan Baby Doe case moved to August, important lesson remains

A case surrounding neonatal abstinence syndrome and the opioid crisis in Tennessee has been rescheduled to go before a courtroom in Bristol on August 17. The “Sullivan Baby Doe” case alleges that major opioid manufacturers played a roll in the number of babies born with this syndrome when they flooded the area with drugs that were ultimately sold on the black market. It seeks to use the Tennessee Drug Dealer Liability Act as the basis for having these companies classified as dealers.

The act could lead to the manufacturers being held liable for the impacts of the illegal drug use. The companies are fighting back against the lawsuit by claiming the act is meant for street-level dealers and not corporations.

What is neonatal abstinence syndrome?

Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a baby is born to a mother who has been using opioid drugs, such as oxycodone, heroin, methadone and similar drugs. With the mother’s use, the baby becomes dependent on the substances because they cross the placenta.

A baby who has NAS will suffer withdrawal symptoms after birth, especially if the mother was continuing to use the drugs within the week or so prior to the birth. It is similar to what is seen in babies who are born to mothers who have abused alcohol during the pregnancy.

The symptoms of NAS aren’t immediate. Instead, they begin to appear when the baby is one to three days old and requires careful monitoring in the hospital. In some cases, the baby will need drugs to manage the symptoms. The problems the baby encounters because of the condition can last for a long time, which can become a costly endeavor for the parents and/or social services system.

The Sullivan Baby Doe case could lead to a financial award to cover the damages associated with the babies who have been born with NAS. This may include the cost of rehabilitation, medical care and treatment necessary to address this crisis.

Importance of banding together

While this matter involves nine counties coming together to fight an issue, it is a good example of the power of coming together with others who have problems similar to yours, including those related to dangerous pharmaceuticals. If you’re suffered damages in an incident that could lead to a class action lawsuit, take the time to review your options and determine how to move forward. You may find that the power in numbers approach that a class action lawsuit provides is ideal for the situation.