Although the vitamin k injection and erythromycin are not vaccines, PAVE sometimes is asked whether these procedures are required by law. A North Carolina parent sent me the following information which she obtained from her investigation:
I phoned the legal department of the Maternity Center and they were unable to tell me which statute they were basing their requirements on. I explained to one of their solicitors that their maternity nurse told me I would be reported to DSS (Dept. of Social Services) for not complying as the procedure was mandated by NC law. The lawyer I spoke with said she could not 'advise' me on the topic. I told her I didn't want advice, I wanted to know what law required me to have the procedures performed on my child. She told me to call my obstetrician ... she was clueless.
I then called the Mecklenburg County Department of Youth and Family Services. This is what I have learned:
There are no NC laws mandating that a newborn receive the erythromycin eye treatment and vitamin K injection. However, the hospital can turn in or report a parent to DSS for not complying with the hospital's policies; for example, the vitamin K injection, vaccination, etc. If the child is not in a life threatening situation, ergo the child does NOT require the treatment to save their life, DSS will not accept the complaint. Basically, nothing will be done about it. The hospital can complain all they want, but no action will be taken as it is a parent's right to choose or decline any treatment for their child so long as it is not a life or death situation. So, it is up to me whether or not my child has any of these procedures performed. It is not law, it is simply the hospital's policy. The hospital maintains the right to notify DSS and file a complaint for investigation but DSS will not accept the complaint or investigate the family/parent.
I am outraged that the Maternity Center would manipulate their semantics in an attempt to pressure parents into having 'unnecessary' procedures performed. I am considering writing a letter to the hospital administrator to formally complain. Most people would have accepted the nurse's word that it was law and, by fear of being 'reported' to DSS, gone through with the procedure. This is unfair. Parents have the right to be informed, truthfully, of their rights.
I hope you will find this information useful!
PAVE wrote a letter to Carolinas Medical Center regarding the legality of the erythromycin drops and vitamin K injection, and Suzanne Freeman, president, replied. She said
"...the North Carolina Administrative Code requires in Section 15A N.C.A.C. 19A.0204(f) that all newborn infants be treated prophylactically against gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum in accordance with the STD Treatment Guidelines of the U.S. Public Health Service. Such treatment guidelines include administering erythromycin to the eyes of all newborns no later than one hour after birth."
She said, "Vitamin K shots are not required by state law, but they are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the standard of care for newborns."
If you would like to look up details on the vitamin K injection in the Physician's Desk Reference, here is some information from a registered nurse:
AquaMEPHYTON Injection(Phytonadione) is how it's found in the PDR. The oral and the injectable are very much the same, except for the properties which make it a tablet. If a mom has a diet with good Vit. K intake (eggs, alphalfa sprouts, etc.) then there would be no reason to consider it.
LINKS TO VITAMIN K INFORMATION
The following links are for informational purposes only. The decison of whether or not to allow vitamin K to be given to your newborn is yours alone.
Merck package insert to Vitamin K: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/SAFETY/2003/03Feb_PI/AquaMEPHYTON_PI.pdf
Question from parent: I have a boy born
at 35 weeks on Oct 2, 2004. He was healthy, no lung/breathing/heart
problems. Good birth weight at 6.5 lbs. However, doctor is recommending
the Synagis vaccine for preventing RSV since he was born at start
of RSV season. In order to decide whether to vaccinate him or
not, I am researching what, if any, serious adverse reactions
there have been to the Synagis vaccine since introduced in 1998.
Answer: The package insert can be found at http://www.medimmune.com/pdfs/synagis_pi.pdf.
The insert contains warnings and contraindications to this product.