Positive for Barbiturates

  1. Hi everyone. My cousin had her baby yesterday morning- term and healthy. She ended up going to a nearby hospital instead of the hosp. where she was receiving pnc. Well this morning her nurse came in and took the baby back to the nursery and explained to her that the baby came out pos. for barbiturates, my cousin was neg. and so they notified the social worker, and DCFS. She did take benadryl and reg. tylenol this past weekend for a really bad cold w/ ok from her doc. She does not drink, smoke or take any other meds. and I'm 100% sure she doesn't do anything illegal. She's a 1st time mom, and has had excellent prenatal care! We don't understand what happened- she had no pain meds during labor. please if anyone can give me advice.
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    About verock

    Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 29
    RN

    13 Comments

  3. by   FutureNrse
    Just a few days ago I posted a story about something similar happening to me a few years ago. I was informed that I had barbituates and antidepressants in my system, even though I knew I had taken nothing at all. I was pretty much held hostage by the hospital for 24 hours because they were waiting for my baby to urinate so they could test him as well.
    I knew there had been a mix up, but no one would listen to me. It was really scary. Thankfully, when they sent the social worker in to talk to me, she believed me, and had new tests ordered, as well as retesting the original sample. As I knew they would be, they were all negative. But by then, I had already left, AMA because I knew that they were flat wrong and refused to stay another minute. We threatened to call an attorney, and the local news if they tried to prevent us from taking our son. It was a horrible experience all around.
    If I were you, I would demand immediate retesting, and call an attorney.
  4. by   ernurseok
    Is it possible that a nurse gave her baby a medicine intended for another baby? What a horrible situation.....hope it all works out.

    Quote from verock
    Hi everyone. My cousin had her baby yesterday morning- term and healthy. She ended up going to a nearby hospital instead of the hosp. where she was receiving pnc. Well this morning her nurse came in and took the baby back to the nursery and explained to her that the baby came out pos. for barbiturates, my cousin was neg. and so they notified the social worker, and DCFS. She did take benadryl and reg. tylenol this past weekend for a really bad cold w/ ok from her doc. She does not drink, smoke or take any other meds. and I'm 100% sure she doesn't do anything illegal. She's a 1st time mom, and has had excellent prenatal care! We don't understand what happened- she had no pain meds during labor. please if anyone can give me advice.
  5. by   Chad_KY_SRNA
    I would demand they repeat the labs asap on mom and baby, could be a lab error.
  6. by   Mimi2RN
    Why did they do one on mom and the baby? Is it routine at that hospital?

    At our hospital a positive UDS is always sent out for confirmation. Also, if mom's screen was neg, and she doesn't have a history of drug use, or with child protective services, nothing would happen.

    Barbiturates are not drugs of choice around here, the last one we had was for something the doc had given her for a headache a couple of days before delivery.

    We don't repeat a UDS, but we sometimes do a meconium screen for drugs.
  7. by   kmchugh
    Barbiturates are essentially fat-soluble drugs. That means they dissolve into body fat, and slowly leech out over time. So, for most barbiturates (caveat - MOST), if I were to take the drug today, I would test positive for anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. Now, it isn't impossible for a mom who has taken a barbiturate to test negative while her baby tests positive, but it is pretty unlikely. Were I in your family, I would demand a few things:

    1. Repeat test.

    2. Demand a thorough inspection of the lab where the test was done. This includes all lab employees.

    3. A thorough explanation from those making the accusation. How do they think mom gave the barbiturate to the fetus while managing not to absorb any of the drug herself? (Note: It is possible, however unlikely. While the placental barrier might only allow a barbiturate to slowly leech to the baby, it would likely allow an equally slow leech back out. Therefore, if there was enough in the baby to be detectable, it should also have been detectable in mom.)

    4. A complete list of ALL hospital personnel, including housekeeping, maintanence, nursing, and ancillary service (respiratory, radiology) personnel who might have had unaccompanied access to my child.

    5. A complete list of all medications administered to all infants in the nursery since the birth of your cousin's child.

    6. A complete list of all medications taken by all hospital personnel having access to your cousin's child.

    If your cousin is absolutely sure that she took no barbiturates during her pregnancy, she absolutely should not accept these actions meekly. CONTACT A LAWYER ASAP.

    Kevin McHugh
  8. by   babyktchr
    Did you cousin give consent to the drug screen for herself and the baby? At my institution..we MUST obtain written consent. Seems odd they would test with no history.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I would do what Kevin suggests; he knows what he is saying here. And I do want to know:

    Why were they testing the baby at all? Is routine drug testing on EVERYONE done there---- or was this a specific case warranting reasonable suspicion? Based on what you tell us, they had no reason to suspect the baby was exposed to anything. They best have had a doctors order, or else they are on shaky ground and would be in trouble.

    I am so sorry for all of this. What a mess. Kevin gave you good advice.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Feb 18, '05
  10. by   z's playa
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I would do what Kevin suggests; he knows what he is saying here. And I do want to know:

    Why were they testing the baby at all? Is routine drug testing on EVERYONE done there---- or was this a specific case warranting reasonable suspicion? Based on what you tell us, they had no reason to suspect the baby was exposed to anything. They best have had a doctors order, or else they are on shaky ground and would be in trouble.

    I am so sorry for all of this. What a mess. Kevin gave you good advice.

    Excellent question Smilingblueyes. I'm curious too. Let me tell you...if I were a new mommy and I found out my baby was tested without a good reason after my tests came back negative....boy oh boy!!!!!!

    Z
  11. by   parteiranagua
    Quote from z's playa
    Excellent question Smilingblueyes. I'm curious too. Let me tell you...if I were a new mommy and I found out my baby was tested without a good reason after my tests came back negative....boy oh boy!!!!!!

    Z
    These test do not have a very good sensitivity and have a high rate of false positive ...
    Ginny DOula RN SNM
  12. by   jarrn03
    I was glad to see this post. The last few months we've had babies come back positive for Barb's. Mom's have been negative. The babies confirmation always comes back negative though. Go figure! Our mom's are tested if they have history with in the last two yrs, always have to have consent. We can test the babies without concent.
    Our manager is looking into the barb's thing because these mom's swear they haven't used them. The drug of choice around here is pot and meth. DHS doesn't even come out for pot positive babies anymore.
  13. by   FutureNrse
    Quote from babyktchr
    Did you cousin give consent to the drug screen for herself and the baby? At my institution..we MUST obtain written consent. Seems odd they would test with no history.
    The hospital I gave birth at didn't need consent. I found out after the fact that they tested me because I had initially wanted to try a home birth, and when I was told that the hospital, and doctor did not approve I instead labored at home and came to the hospital in the late stage of labor. Apparently, the fact that I wanted a home birth was a red flag to hospital staff because they think that women who use drugs might try a home birth to escape detection. Ridiculous.
  14. by   tasharn
    Well it is policy that if a patient is a drop in (meaning a hospital that didn't do the primary care) then we screen them both. Lots of mom's who are positive do hospital hopping in hopes of not getting caught and the baby taken away by dhs. I am sorry this happen to your cousin, I would demand a repeat, because labs make mistakes

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