**The following story has been adapted from real life events. The names and some details have been changed for our dear friend HIPAA.
Baby boy G’s mama was on drugs. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Social Services, he was allowed to go home with her after he was born.
Scratch that. He was allowed to go with her, but not home. She was homeless. They sent him back to live with her on a friend’s couch, in the very same house where he had been born on a filthy kitchen floor.
We as a team hated seeing him go back to that environment. That adorable, mild mannered, teensy little baby went home to a crack den, despite his and his mom’s positive urine drug screens at birth. Social services gave them one caveat: mom was not allowed to be alone with the baby.
Fortunately for our consciences and for Baby boy, mom screwed up. She showed up to an appointment with him unsupervised. His pediatrician acted quickly and had him admitted to the hospital. “Possible drug withdrawal,” he said.
Once in the hospital, we took emergency protective custody. For two days, Baby boy was the peds floor mascot. His given name was not to be uttered, as the emergency protective custody arrangement afforded him an extra layer of privacy. We nicknamed him Peanut. Nurses bought him clothes and toys from the gift shop. Attendings, residents, and nurses, unable to resist the baby fever, drew straws for who would get to manage his next feeding. We became attached.
We knew that a foster family would be coming soon. We collectively decided that if they were unacceptable to the group, we would figure out a way to keep him in the hospital until another family could be found. Everyone knows foster care is terrible, someone said.
You gotta read this. (You also gotta have a few tissues handy).