When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots and Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds


A baby receiving a Vitamin K shot. Photo credit: angus mcdiarmid / Creative Commons

The baby was born full-term and healthy, but now, just a few weeks later, lay limp and unresponsive, barely breathing.

“The baby was diagnosed with bleeding in the brain,” said Dr. Ivana Culic, a neonatologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and medical director of the special care nursery at Beverly Hospital. “Babies that suffer intracranial bleeding — or bleeding in the brain — unfortunately suffer damage that can be lifelong.”

The child survived. Medical privacy rules bar Culic from revealing more details of this recent Boston-area case she saw, but she could say this: The parents of the baby had refused the standard shot of Vitamin K that would almost certainly have prevented that bleed.

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