women and infants hospital

National Institutes of Health

When Rhode Island health officials rolled out a new immunization requirement for seventh graders this fall, they weren’t expecting controversy. The vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus, protects against a sexually transmitted infection that causes most cervical, anal, and throat cancers. But a small but vocal group of opponents say the state shouldn’t mandate the HPV vaccine, and they’re taking the fight to the statehouse.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded another round of millions of dollars in research funding to two of Rhode Island’s major teaching hospitals. Rhode Island Hospital and Women and Infants are using the money to study cancer and fetal development.

This is the third and final phase of NIH funding for programs called Centers for Biological Research Excellence, or COBRE, at each hospital.

A union that represents the majority of workers recently laid off at Women and Infants Hospital is challenging the job cuts in federal court.

They get to stay on the job until at least Thursday. That’s when a federal judge will hear the union’s challenge. Women and Infants announced the lay-offs this week for more than 40 employees, including certified nurses assistants, imaging technicians, food and laundry service workers.

Women & Infants hospital is laying off 41 employees and reducing hours for half a dozen others. The hospital blames the job cuts on dropping birth rates in Rhode Island, combined with changes in the way insurance and federal healthcare plans pay hospitals. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison reports.

According to Women & Infants Senior Vice President for Patient Care Angelleen Peters-Lewis, the focus now is better outcomes, not more procedures.

The Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) is trying to enroll 2000 kids and adults with autism spectrum disorders in a confidential statewide registry.

Researchers from Brown University, Bradley, and Women and Infants Hospital hope to gather data from registrants to conduct multiple studies over the coming years. Why?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More Rhode Island babies are being born dependent on the opioid drugs their pregnant mothers were taking. Their condition, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, sometimes requires hospital stays and powerful medications. In the second of our two-part series, the story of a newborn going through withdrawal and a young mother trying to make a new life for him in recovery. (You can listen to part one of our series here.)

Visiting baby Jonathan
“Where’s everybody headed?”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The rising number of Rhode Islanders struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin has brought an increase in babies born addicted to these substances. And Women & Infants Hospital is treating a growing number of them.

A labor dispute at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence has erupted over the layoff of 16 staff members. The layoffs, and the dispute, turn on the definition of a single word: deliveries.

Members of the Service Employees International Union local 1199 are picketing outside Women and Infants over the hospital’s decision to cut several cleaning, lab, and clinical staff. Union spokesman Patrick Quinn says his members dispute the hospital’s claim that the number of deliveries – and therefore the need for as many staff – has dropped below 8500 over the past year.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Women and Infant’s Hospital held a party for four year olds Sunday.

Janessa Padella is a perfectly normal three year old with curly brown hair and big brown eyes. But when she was born in 2009 she weighed just 14 ounces.  She was the smallest of the premature baby class of 2009 invited to Women and Infant’s Hospital yesterday for a birthday party. Only children who weighed less than two pounds, 12 ounces were invited.

Janessa’s mother, Vannesa Rodriguez, remembers the terror she felt that she might lose her severely underdeveloped child.

US Navy

Women and Infants Hospital is responding to allegations that a research study of premature babies in which it participated didn’t properly inform parents of the risks.