Memphis based hospital partners with addiction specialists to combat growing suspected drug overdose-related deaths

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Thirty-seven people in Shelby County have died from a suspected drug overdose-related death since the start of the year according to the Shelby County Health Department. Now Baptist MemorialHealth Care is using telemedicine to help tackle this growing epidemic.

The addiction specialists are brought in from the moment an addict asks a doctor for help. Telemedicine at Baptist Memorial Hospital now brings an addiction specialist that’s available 24/7 to meet with doctors and patients.

Focusing on Mid-South opioid crisis

“In addition to being able to save lives and stabilize we can also prevent further death and poor outcomes because we are able to treat these people acutely for their addiction and get the appropriate follow up medication and support,” said Dr. SDaniel Poor, ER Physician at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

The team effort to combat the growing opioid crisis started in September of 2019 when Integrated Addiction Care Associates partnered with the hospital to provide on-demand in-hospital consults, face to face with not only doctors but also the patient.

The overdose next door: How Shelby County is fighting the opioid crisis

The clinic’s approach is the first of its kind for West Tennessee. Bartlett based IAC tackles the road to sobriety for addicts through a three-step method caring for their patient’s physical, behavioral, and social needs.

The wrap-around care was the idea of Drs. Kathleen and David Stern after losing their son Alan in 2008 to an opioid overdose.

“It was very important to myself and my wife that we should really help other families so they wouldn’t have a lost similar to this,” said Dr. David Stern.

The Sterns opened the clinic last April and now see close to 400 patients.

Many of whom made the choice to change their life after a visit to the Baptist ER where the addiction specialists are called upon daily.

“I would like to think that it embraces them in kind of a way in a protective kind of cocoon so they can gain strength and then be able to renter which takes more skills to go back into the world where there are temptations and other things,” said Dr, Stern.

This program has since expanded from starting in Memphis. As of this month, it is now offered at Baptist’s Collierville and Tipton County locations with future plans to expand to Baptist Desoto.

 

Source: Memphis based hospital partners with addiction specialists to combat growing suspected drug overdose-related deaths