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Doctors Plot to Steal Baby When Parents Refuse Shot

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

refusing vitamin k shot newborn

Story at-a-glance -

  • Despite the fact that parents have the right to choose whether or not to allow a vitamin K shot for their child, with many hospitals requiring consent forms for such, some hospitals are persecuting parents for exercising this right
  • In September 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Illinois hospitals, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and pediatricians by Illinois families who had their babies taken from them for refusing the vitamin K injection
  • Recordings of a meeting of members of the Illinois Department of Health’s Perinatal Advisory Committee (PAC) have since been released, revealing that doctors were plotting to take custody of newborns and administer vitamin K injections in violation of the parents’ rights
  • While most newborns do require vitamin K, a vitamin K injection is not the only option to attain it; oral vitamin K drops are a safe alternative

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all newborns receive a shot of vitamin K at birth, which is intended to help prevent a rare condition known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding.1 Babies have very little vitamin K when they're born, which is necessary to help form clots and stop bleeding.

Giving a dose of vitamin K can help babies, most of whom are born with insufficient vitamin K levels, to avoid potentially life-threatening internal bleeding, including in the brain or intestines, but the vitamin K shot is not the only solution. Oral vitamin K can also be used, as can naturally increasing the infant's levels via breastfeeding (which requires that the mother's vitamin K levels be optimized).

Some parents, therefore, choose to refuse the vitamin K shot for their newborn, a medical decision that's well within a parent's rights in most U.S. states. Despite the fact that parents have the right to choose whether or not to allow a vitamin K shot for their child, with many hospitals requiring consent forms for such, some hospitals are persecuting parents for exercising this right.

The issue reached a breaking point in September 2019, when a class-action lawsuit was filed against Illinois hospitals, including Silver Cross, University of Chicago Medical Center and Christ Hospital; the AAP; the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS); and pediatricians by Illinois families who had their babies taken from them for refusing the vitamin K injection.2

Recordings of a meeting of members of the Illinois Department of Health's Perinatal Advisory Committee (PAC) have since been released, revealing that doctors were plotting to take custody of newborns and administer vitamin K injections in violation of the parents' rights.3

Lawsuit Filed After Newborns Illegally Seized

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of families who refused one or more non-mandatory medical procedures, including the vitamin K injection, antibiotic eye ointment or vaccines, for their newborns. In response, hospital or state officials responded with investigations or threats and in some cases even seized the infants. According to the lawsuit:4

"[DCFS] used the power given to them as State officials and/or employees and through their authorities and investigative powers to cause the Plaintiffs to be threatened and coerced into accepting unwanted and unnecessary medical procedures."

In one case described in the Chicago Tribune, Danielle Anderson refused the vitamin K shot for her newborn daughter, as doctors warned that the hospital "would take the baby away" if she didn't relent.5 Hospital security came in to remove the baby, forcing her to call the police, who told doctors to stop pressuring Anderson.

Although she was able to leave the hospital with her baby later that day, she was later investigated by DCFS, who came to her home twice to check on the children. In another case, a nurse left the room with Angela Bougher's newborn — medically kidnapping her — after Bougher refused the vitamin K injection — and they remained separated for about 12 hours.

"I honestly could not understand what was going on," Bougher told the Tribune. "I was in total shock. I've never not had my baby right away."6 The class-action suit that has since been filed alleges that parents had their constitutional rights violated.

"Hours that should have been filled with happiness and family photos were instead filled with uncertainty, they said, as children were temporarily taken into protective custody, DCFS caseworkers were called and the parents were made to feel like criminals," according to the Tribune.7

One of the pediatricians named in the suit is Dr. Jill Glick, who is accused of "[conspiring] with DCFS officials ... to implement a DCFS policy that all of them knew was illegal, and [making] sure that Illinois pediatricians and hospitals carried out this policy using coercive threats... designed to enforce compliance with their desires that no parent be allowed to refuse the prophylactic medical procedures at issue in this case."8

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed an email from Glick written in August 2017, which suggested parents should be forced to accept such procedures in order to send a clear message to parents who "do not see the medical community as the expert."9

Advisory Committee Discusses Taking Newborns

In an April 2018 meeting of members of the PAC, vitamin K injections were discussed, including cases in which parents signed written refusals. Audio from the meeting has been released, which reveals plans to work with DCFS to take newborns into "protective custody" and administer vitamin K shots illegally against parents' wishes.

The plan includes getting DCFS to agree that the hospital staff needed to take the infants into protective custody, which the officials believed could protect them from getting sued after they administered the vitamin K injection that the parents had refused. A part of the excerpt, published by PJ Media, reads:10

"WOMAN #1: You can take… Protective custody is just the right to do what you think is right for the baby. And, DCFS, if they say, 'yes, that we agree with you, cause this is our rule'. You give the vitamin K and then do any of us really care what happens next?

WOMAN #3: No, but can they sue you then?

WOMAN #1: No, because you have their … you took protective custody. That's the part that we have to assure with DCFS. That when we do this …

MS. LIGHTNER: Need DCFS to assure you.

WOMAN #1: Yes, that's what I mean, DCFS has to say, 'This is our protocol, no matter what else we do: You are protected.'"

State officials and hospital employees are overstepping their bounds in accusing parents of medical neglect for refusing optional medical procedures for their infants. As PJ Media noted:11

"This audio is shocking proof that doctors hold immense power over individual rights. Liberty died around a board room table in Chicago that day. Innocent parents had their children removed from their custody on nothing more than some unelected busybody's opinion that their medical degree was more important than constitutional rights and the right to informed consent."

States Abducting Children in the Name of 'Abuse'

In 1991, the bipartisan National Commission on Children figured out that children were being taken from their families prematurely or unnecessarily because federal formulas give states a strong financial incentive to do so rather than provide services to keep families together.12

Children in foster care bring in revenue for counties, such that The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) — the federal law on which almost all state and local legislation and funding for child protective services are based — mandates states to implement child abuse laws on their own, so they can align themselves for the massive funding and grants that go along with the law.

In theory as the years went by, if the goal for this law — to reduce child abuse in the U.S. — had been successful, then today we should need less funding for these programs, not more. Success also should have resulted in fewer children in foster care and even fewer being put up for adoption.

But in reality, the opposite happened. Instead of less children in foster care, the numbers went up for nine years after CAPTA was passed. And, layers and layers of state and federal government programs and agencies whose funding depends solely on child abuse occurring were created.

Child abuse is a terrible thing, but thousands of child abuse cases may in fact not be child abuse at all, such as in some cases of rickets, caused by either vitamin D deficiency or aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. Infant rickets perfectly mimics child abuse, and the baby will have virtually no symptoms — until their bones fracture.

According to Dr. David Ayoub, a radiologist in Springfield, Illinois, a great number of child abuse cases may in fact be instances of misdiagnosed metabolic dysfunction.13

You may have also heard about the case of Justina Pelletier, who was removed from her parents' custody by Massachusetts child protection officials after Boston Children's Hospital filed a "medical child abuse" complaint against them, following a dispute over Justina's medical diagnosis.

The state kept the teen hospitalized for close to a year and wanted to place her in private foster care. Eventually, a judge ruled the girl should be returned to her parents, but all the while she was unable to receive treatment for the rare mitochondrial disease she actually suffered from.14

Vitamin K Denial Associated With Vaccine Refusal

A study published in Pediatrics revealed that children who did not receive the vitamin K shot at birth were 14.6 times more likely to be unvaccinated at 15 months. The researchers concluded:15

"This is the first population-based study to characterize parents who are likely to decline vitamin K for their infants and whose children are likely to be unimmunized. These findings enable earlier identification of high-risk parents and provide an opportunity to enact strategies to increase uptake of vitamin K and childhood immunizations."

The link adds another layer to the injustice being done to parents exercising their right to informed consent, as it labels anyone who refuses the vitamin K injection as a "high-risk" parent.

The fact remains that protecting such medical decisions form the basis for informed consent, a basic human right in which a person has the ability to voluntarily accept or reject a treatment or medical procedure after being fully informed of its possible risks and benefits.

In the case of the vitamin K injection, while the CDC states it's safe,16 in 2010, I interviewed Cees Vermeer, Ph.D., an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, a specialist in vitamin K. He raised several concerns with the vitamin K injection:

  • The amount of vitamin K injected into newborns (0.5 to 1 milligram) is far greater than needed
  • The injection may contain benzyl alcohol, a preservative that may be toxic for the baby's delicate immune system. Preservative-free shots may contain a combination of polysorbate 80 and propylene glycol instead, but these ingredients also have a questionable safety profile. For polysorbate 80, hypersensitivity and possible death are among the known risks17
  • 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
  • Inflicting pain immediately after birth causes psycho-emotional damage and trauma to a newborn, which is both inappropriate and unnecessary

A Safe Alternative: Oral Vitamin K

While most newborns do require vitamin K, a vitamin K injection is not the only option to attain it. Oral vitamin K drops are a safe alternative that can be given without pain, but because they require multiple doses, hospitals may assume that parents will not follow through with the full dosing. There are a variety of suggested dosages for newborns:

Six-month weekly regimen — One 2-mg oral dose at birth, followed by a once-weekly dose of 1 mg for the first six months of life, provided they're breastfed at least half of the time. This regimen was found to be as effective as the vitamin K shot, Evidence Based Birth reports.18

Three-month weekly regimen — 2 mg at birth, followed by once weekly dose of 1 mg for the first three months was found to be "an efficient prophylaxis against VKBD."19

Three-month daily or weekly regimen — 1 mg dose at birth followed by 25 micrograms per day for 13 weeks, or 2 mg at birth followed by 1 mg per week for three months was found to provide the lowest risk of VKDB.20

Three-dose regimen — 1 mg by mouth at birth, 1 mg at 1 week of age, and a third 1 mg dose at 4 to 6 months of age.21

Three-dose regimen — 2 mg four hours after birth, 2 mg on Day Four, and a third 2-mg dose in the fourth week was found to "adequately" protect infants from VKDB.22 (Omitting the third dose was shown to provide inadequate protection).

Single dose — A single oral dose of 1 mg may protect against early VKDB in exclusively breastfed babies but not late VKDB.23

It's also possible to provide vitamin K to newborns via breastmilk, but most women are low in vitamin K, according to Vermeer, which means their milk will be too. In order to use this approach safely, you need to make sure your vitamin K level is truly optimized, and for most women, the vitamin K absorbed from foods won't be enough, so supplementation might be needed.

The choice of whether or not to allow the vitamin K injection for your baby is yours — not the hospital's or doctor's. It's a good idea to make the decision well before your baby's delivery, so you can inform your obstetrician, hospital and nursing staff of your decision, and request that they have oral vitamin K drops — along with instructions for proper continual dosing — available at your child's birth.