published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

TN newborns get rare bleeding disorder after parents refused vitamin K shots

4 babies diagnosed with preventable bleeding disorder

  • photo
    Dr. Robert Sidonio Jr., a hematologist, diagnosed four babies with vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
    Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A bleeding disorder in babies so rare that it typically affects fewer than one in 100,000 is becoming more common in Tennessee because parents are refusing vitamin K injections at birth, according to pediatric specialists.

Since February, four babies with no signs of injury or abuse have been sent to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt with either brain hemorrhages or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Robert Sidonio Jr., a hematologist, diagnosed them with vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

After discovering that all four had not received the preventive treatment, which doctors have been giving to newborns since the 1960s, he started making inquiries. Pediatricians told him parents are increasingly refusing consent because of concerns based on misinformation or the goal of having natural childbirths.

“These were all patients that were born at home or born in the hospital, but all had declined vitamin K,” Sidonio said.

Read more from our news partners at The Tennessean.

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