Orange Park hospital employee fosters baby born addicted to drugs

by: Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax Updated:

An Orange Park hospital employee formed a special bond with a baby boy who was born addicted to drugs.

The boy was born at Orange Park Medical Center Aug. 4.

He was suffering from excessive crying and trembling as he went through withdrawals from drugs he was exposed to in the womb.

The staff at Orange Park Medical Center’s NICU took turns holding and comforting him around the clock.

One labor and delivery employee, Donna Hightower, began visiting him to hold and calm him on her lunch breaks, before and after her shift and on her days off.

“I fell in love with him,” Hightower said.

When he turned 5 weeks old, Hightower brought him home and began serving as his foster parent.

“He didn’t have a choice to have this life. I just want him to have a good life whether it’s with me or in a forever home,” Hightower said.

She said the outpouring of care and support she has received from other staff members has been overwhelming.  

“Our NICU has been busier than ever and part of that is due to the increase of babies being born addicted to drugs," Suzanne Jones, women and children’s services director at Orange Park Medical Center, said. "All of our staff have such big hearts when it comes to our babies and they amaze me every day with the extra care and attention they give to these babies with special needs."

As our community continues to fight the surge of opioid users showing up in emergency rooms Orange Park Medical Center wants to raise awareness to the issues we are seeing in the delivery room.  

Next Up: