Cuddlers on Call: Volunteers helping babies with involuntary drug addictions

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Volunteers at Conway Medical Center are helping the youngest victims of the opioid crisis (Photo: WPDE)

Joyce McIntyre doesn’t technically work at Conway Medical Center, but most days, she’s there bright and early, ready to swaddle, snuggle and cuddle.

“If they call me on emergency, I’d be right here,” McIntyre said.

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She’s a cuddler. She helps nurses in the newborn nursery by changing diapers, feeding babies, restocking the unit with supplies, and of course – cuddling.

It’s a volunteer service that doctors at CMC say is vital. Almost 1,300 babies are born at Conway Medical Center every year, and the nursery has a staff of about 82 people.

Kathy Wade, the Clinical Coordinator for the newborn nursery, said it’s not always easy for the nurses to get to every baby as soon as it begins crying.



“Part of the newborn being able to bond with humans is having their needs met in a timely manner when they’re babies,” Wade said.

That’s where the cuddlers come in.

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