Controversy surrounds the administration of Vitamin K injections for newborns, and news out of Tennessee that 7 children in the last 8 months have been admitted to Vanderbilt Hospital with brain bleeds caused by a Vitamin K deficiency has health care providers concerned.
In the United States, newborns are injected with Vitamin K within 6 hours of birth, per strict protocols and recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some parents that have consulted with pediatricians at the Pediatric Center of Round Rock have refused Vitamin K injections for their newborn due to concerns that the injection causes leukemia and cancer within the baby’s body, which are claims are promoted by the anti-vaccine movement.
Despite these claims that have no basis in science, pediatricians recommend administering vitamin K to newborns to prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, a condition first described in 1894 and characterized by spontaneous internal bleeding in otherwise healthy infants.
Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn was linked to Vitamin K deficiency in 1939, which caused pediatricians to administer the vitamin via injection as a preventative measure. As a result, the incidence of hemorrhagic disease of the newborn was very low in the United States. In recent years, an increase of hemorrhagic disease of newborns has been documented as more parents opt out of Vitamin K injection administration to their newborns.
Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn was linked to Vitamin K deficiency in 1939, which is when pediatricians began to administer the vitamin via injection as a preventative measure. As a result, the incidence of the disease has been very low in the United States. In recent years we’ve seen a startling increase of infant brain bleeds as more parents opt out of the Vitamin K injection when their baby is born.