SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A lawsuit filed by three Attorneys General in Northeast Tennessee reveals new details about the fourth plaintiff “Baby Doe.”
Barry Staubus, Dan Armstrong and Tony Clark announced the joint lawsuit Tuesday against three opioid manufacturers, a local medical clinic and two convicted opioid dealers.
The lawsuit reveals Baby Doe just turned two years old on March 10th.
Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus said this baby is representative of all babies born addicted to opiates, but as to why specifically prosecutors chose this baby, he said he can’t comment on that aspect of the case at this time due to the pending litigation.
A Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, diagnosis is something Baby Doe and local 4-year-old Bella Odom have in common, according to the lawsuit.
Bella’s adopted mother Angie Odom said her daughter’s birth mother overdosed at just 8 weeks pregnant – not on opioids, but on a combination of other drugs.
“All you could do was walk the floor with a screaming child that you just knew was so agitated and upset and hurting, now I know those cries of hurt, and you couldn’t fix it,” Odom said.
As for Baby Doe, Staubus said, “He suffered because his mother was an addict who used, purchased and abused opioids during her pregnancy.”
The lawsuit states Baby Doe arched his back, refused to eat, and cried uncontrollably as medical workers weaned him from his addiction with controlled doses of morphine, and he “continues to suffer from numerous health and learning disabilities to this day.”
“He is one baby, but he is also a representative of hundreds of babies over the last 15 years that have been born in Sullivan County and Northeast Tennessee,” Staubus said.
Prosecutors said Baby Doe’s mother started taking opioids recreationally and then eventually her doctor prescribed the opioid Lortab after a car crash. “She dutifully took her prescribed medication but, unbeknownst to her physician, she was taking it twice as often as her doctor prescribed,” the lawsuit states.
The woman was addicted to opioids for about four years, according to the lawsuit, and by the time she learned she was pregnant, her unborn child Baby Doe was now addicted, too.
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