Doctors concerned more parents declining Vitamin K injections - WKRN News 2

Vandy doctors concerned more parents declining Vitamin K injections

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Nashville pediatricians say they are seeing a bleeding disorder in babies that has never been seen before.

According to health officials, the bleeding disorder stems from parents refusing to give their child a Vitamin K injection at birth.

"Over the last five to six months, we've noticed an uptick in the number of confirmed cases of late Vitamin K deficiency bleeding," Dr. Robert Sidonio Jr. said.

Officials told News 2 only one in 100,000 infant suffer from bleeding disorders caused by a lack of Vitamin K.

Since February, four cases have been diagnosed at Monroe Carrell Junior Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

"In the cases that we saw there were significant GI bleeding, bleeding in the GI tract and in three of the four cases, they had bleeding in their heads and that was life threatening," Dr. Sidonio said.

According to health officials, since the 1960s, newborns have been given injections of Vitamin K to prevent bleeding as a matter of routine healthcare.

However, none of the four infants hospitalized at Vanderbilt received preventative treatment.

Doctors that News 2 spoke with said they are concerned more Tennessee parents are deciding not give their infant the Vitamin K injection.

"We know over the last six months, here, the number of refusals has been as high as 20 to 30 percent," Dr. Sidonio said.

Doctors added that part of the reason parents are refusing the injection is partly due to misinformation, including information from an early 90s study that linked Vitamin K with child leukemia.
 
However, according to Dr. Sidonio, not receiving the shot can result in life long health problems.

"You can have long term problems, like seizures and developmental difficulties meaning the child may not be completely developmentally normal. This happens in 50% of the cases," he explained.

All four of the children admitted to Vanderbilt survived, but three will likely face long-term neurological problems and developmental delays.

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