West Virginia is a case study in how legal battles against drug companies don’t always balance the scales
By Debbie Cenziper, Emily Corio, Kelly Hooper and Douglas Soule
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The ward of the state was barely 16 inches long. He slept in a bassinet with a monitor that tracked his heart rate and a heat lamp that warmed his limbs. The isolation room was hushed. The doctors wanted it that way because the three-pound patient in the bright blue T-shirt fussed at even the dullest sounds.
“I’m a boy,” read a note posted in June at the baby’s side in the neonatal intensive care unit in Charleston. He was comforted by a nurse who learned long ago to recognize the high-pitched cries of newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal.