I presume decent sanitation will be the next thing they go after
I try to avoid the undue use of profanity in my posts. While I think we’re all grown-ups who can use grown-up words (sometimes of necessity), prodigal use of swear words strikes me as out of keeping with the semi-professional standards we’re aiming for hereabouts.
I try to avoid posts that are nothing more than expressions of unmitigated, sincere contempt. (Lighthearted contempt of silly things is a different story.) As a default, I try to think and speak well of people, even when I find their behavior or decisions problematic.
I fear I will be unable to successfully avoid either of these things. Because there is nothing but abject stupidity behind a fun new trend in medical Luddism. Abject fucking stupidity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the Nov. 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that four confirmed cases of late vitamin K deficient bleeding were diagnosed at a children’s hospital in Nashville, Tenn from Feb. to Sept. 2013. All four infants were not given a vitamin K shot due to their parental refusals
But, over the last few years, [neonatologist Dr. Tiffany] McKee-Garrett and her colleagues noticed an uptick in parents refusing the vitamin K shot and they believe ‘Google medicine’ is to blame.
“I think because of the age of the internet, there’s several different mommy blogs and chat groups that have different opinions,” she said. “They’re out there, and I think that can scare the new parents.”
The CDC found in the cases of the four parents who declined the vitamin K shot, they claimed they made their decision based on their idea that the shot was unnecessary and to limit their child’s exposure to “toxins.” They also said they believed there was a higher risk for leukemia when the child was given vitamin K. That link was shown in one 1992 study, but has not since been replicated by other research. [emphasis mine]
If I did not see the evidence before me, I would find this story almost literally unbelievable. It approaches inconceivability to me that an intervention so utterly devoid of serious harm and that confers such an unambiguous benefit, that obviates the risk of a wholly preventable condition would be something ill-advised parents would refuse anyway. God as my witness, this just might break my brain.
I should offer a brief primer on vitamin K, particularly with regard to newborns. Your body needs vitamin K to make some very important proteins, chief among them several factors necessary for blood to clot normally. Vitamin K is found in several foods, and is also made within our own bodies by bacteria living in our gut. Since infants are born without these healthy bacteria already colonizing their intestines, and because vitamin K passes poorly through the placenta, they are at risk of hemorrhaging without supplemental vitamin K. It’s a rare complication, but one so patently worth preventing that any argument to the contrary beggars credulity.
But lo, the idiots emerge to argue anyway. A quick consult with “Dr. Google” yields them by the bucketful.
Like this guy, a one-man argument against ever entrusting your child’s care to a chiropractor:
Our instinct was to decline the shot for our baby, but after our midwife gave the vitamin K shot a strong endorsement due to an experience she had of seeing an non-injected baby die from intracranial bleeding, we felt enough uncertainty to go with her recommendation.
Most fortunately, our son had no problems with his injection and is thriving as he approaches 22 months of age.
In preparing to welcome our second child this coming summer, we recently decided to do some more research into the pros and cons of giving vitamin K shots to newborns. After reading through several papers and discussing the matter over many days, we decided that for our second child, we will decline the vitamin K shot.
In trying to keep the swear count to a minimum, I have redacted the sentence that appeared here in my first draft. It was… not complimentary, and rhymed with “mucking cupid boron.” I love how his article concludes with the following (written by another but endorsed by him):
There is no overwhelming reason to discontinue this routine prophylactic injection for breastfed infants. Providing information about alternatives to allow informed parents to refuse would be reasonable. These parents may then decide to provide some gradual supplementation, or, for an entirely healthy term infant, they may simply provide diligent watchfulness for any signs of jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin) or easy bleeding.
Diligent watchfulness? What if your infant’s first sign of vitamin K deficiency is a seizure because of a massive bleed in her brain?!? Thanks for the tip, Dr. Kim!
If that isn’t enough to scare you, Midwifery Digest, Vol 2 #3, September 1992 estimated that the chance of your child developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is about one in 500! This means that the risk of developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is much higher than the risk of bleeding on the brain which the vitamin K shot is supposed to prevent!Does any of this make any sense to you? It makes absolutely no sense to me. How could anyone say that this shot is safe and effective for newborns?How about this for an alternative – eat lots of leafy greens in the weeks before your due date (I drank a cup or two of nettle tea every day in the final weeks which is loaded with vitamin K1) to make sure your blood is high in vitamin K and of course, this will transfer to your baby as well. Make sure you breastfeed your child as the probiotics in breastmilk will seed your baby’s digestive tract with the right type of good bacteria which will produce naturally occurring vitamin K immediately after birth.
Oh, my GOD! The massive vat of scalding, burning stupid! I don’t have access to a two-decade old issue of Midwifery Digest, but allow me to promise you that there is nothing even remotely approaching a 1 in 500 risk of developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot. First of all (and this is a question I ask over and over again about vaccine denialism, too), why on earth do you think we would give an injection that carried that kind of risk???!? Do you think the pediatric community would be unaware of such a thing, or that we would just blithely accept it? Have you even thought through the implications of what you are saying?
Was there a study that linked vitamin K to leukemia? Yes. Thank heavens for the many subsequent, better studies [PDF] that showed no such link.
And I love the idea that, presto chango, immediately after birth breastfeeding will somehow magically populate the gut with healthy bacteria, apparently already laden with lots of vitamin K without the need to actually start producing it first.
There are three primary areas of risk associated with these injections:
Probably the most significant is inflicting pain immediately after birth likely causing psycho-emotional damage and trauma to a newborn, which is totally inappropriate, and unnecessary. It just creates another emotional wound that the helpless and innocent baby needs to overcome to achieve health and wellness.It is bad enough they will have to overcome unintentional traumas along the way but to mandate this practice is the 21st century is simply unconscionable.
The amount of vitamin K injected into newborns is 20,000 times the needed doseiv . Additionally, the injection may also contain preservatives that can be toxic for your baby’s delicate, young immune system.
An injection creates an additional opportunity for infection in an environment that contains some of the most dangerous germs, at a time when your baby’s immune system is still immature.
Let’s go down that list, shall we? The first risk is such stifling, Grade A claptrap I can scarcely bring myself to refute it. Do newborns cry very briefly when given the shot? Usually. Does this cause any damage whatsoever to their souls or psyches or minds? I defy you to prove it beyond speculation so idle it would make leprechauns seem plausible by comparison.
I have no idea where that 20,000 number came from. The “supporting” link is just another woo website that baselessly states the same thing. It’s telling that Dr. Mercola (it amazes me that my fingers didn’t burst into flame when I typed that) doesn’t bother to list what those awful, awful toxins are, or what actual, measurable outcomes they wreak upon delicate immune systems.
That last risk is the only one that even begins to approach reality, if only at a nodding distance. Yes, any time you give any shot, there is a negligible risk of infection. Which is why we clean the skin first and use sterile needles. Problem solved.
Thanks to this kind of dangerous, moronic fuckwittery, credulous parents are declining an injection for their children that carries practically zero risk whatsoever and that prevents a rare but catastrophic neonatal health problem. The mind boggles to imagine what other gift of modern medicine these cretins will be eschewing next. Insulin? IV fluids? Soap and water?
Please, new parents of America, listen to your pediatricians. We have real training, like from books. We have your children’s best interests at heart, and have actual science to back up our recommendations. We may not always get things entirely right, but I swear on any holy document you care to proffer that we know more than the collection of cranks and simpletons you find by trolling the web.
No infant should have a stroke because his parents refused a vitamin K shot. There is no excuse whatsoever for that kind of pointless, preventable tragedy, and it confounds me utterly that it is happening at all.