Originally Posted by eriflegna
This is so helpful! I'm delivering there in June too - but with one of the OBs. Anyone requested exemption from the newborn "stuff" - Hep B, vit K, eye drops, etc...? I've talked to my OB about it, and she is open but not thrilled, but I don't really want a fight at that moment, you know?
My experience was that some of it (Hep B) depends on your pediatrician, and the other stuff (Vitamin K and eye drops) is all up to you advocating for your own medical decisions. The midwives told me they encourage Vitamin K because the baby could have internal bleeding that is not detected, but didn't argue with my choice. The eye drops is a whole other issue . . .
In the state of Texas, it is actually a law that medical professionals MUST administer the eye drops, or they are subject to a misdemeanor offense. Now, I seriously doubt a nurse, doctor or midwife has actually been charged with this crime, but there it is on the books (see below). The major problem with this, besides the fact that it violates medical ethics of informed consent, is that patients who don't want this or other procedures can file battery charges against a medical professional who administers a drug against his/her will (this is my understanding at least). So, nurses - who are usually the ones who give the drops, not doctors or midwives - are in a bit of a catch 22, and they generally will just try to persuade the patient to consent. The interesting thing to me is that the way that hospitals are dealing with this is by telling patients that it is the law to give the eye drops, and that if a parent does not consent, that the hospital must report them to CPS. As if it is the parent "breaking the law." I have no idea where they came up with this policy, as the legal statute does not indicate that would be the next step, but anecdotally, that's what happens at a lot of hospitals.
Personally, I refused the eye drops. I'm sure you've read up on it, as I did, and I felt confident that I was not putting my baby at risk. When I refused the drops, I did so matter-of-factly, simply saying I didn't want them (without apology). When the nurse said that she needed to give them, or something like that, I just said "no thanks," and moved on. She didn't push it. Later, she or someone else came by to explain that if we did not consent that the hospital would have to report us to CPS. I said that was fine. She said a social worker would be by to talk to me about it, but no one ever came by, and I have yet to hear from CPS. I know that CPS is a little too busy with a whole lot of actual abuse to bother with this stuff.
Good luck with your delivery and this issue! I found it to be no big deal.
HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
TITLE 2. HEALTH
SUBTITLE D. PREVENTION, CONTROL, AND REPORTS OF DISEASES
CHAPTER 81. COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
Sec. 81.091. OPHTHALMIA NEONATORUM PREVENTION; CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A physician, nurse, midwife, or other person in attendance at childbirth shall use or cause to be used prophylaxis approved by the board to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum.
(b) A midwife is responsible for the administration of the prophylaxis to each infant the midwife delivers by:
(1) administering the prophylaxis under standing delegation orders issued by a licensed physician; or
(2) requiring the prophylaxis to be administered by an appropriately licensed and trained individual under standing delegation orders issued by a licensed physician.
(c) Subject to the availability of funds, the department shall furnish prophylaxis approved by the board free of charge to:
(1) health care providers if the newborn's financially responsible adult is unable to pay; and
(2) a midwife identified under Chapter 203, Occupations Code, who requests prophylaxis for administration under standing delegation orders issued by a licensed physician under Subsection (b) and subject to the provisions of Subchapter A, Chapter 157, Occupations Code.
(d) If a physician is not available to issue a standing delegation order or if no physician will agree to issue a standing delegation order, a midwife shall administer or cause to be administered by an appropriately trained and licensed individual prophylaxis approved by the Texas Board of Health to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum to each infant that the midwife delivers.
(e) Administration and possession by a midwife of prophylaxis under this section is not a violation of Chapter 483.
(f) A health care provider may not charge for prophylaxis received free from the department.
(g) A person commits an offense if the person is a physician or other person in attendance on a pregnant woman either during pregnancy or at delivery and fails to perform a duty required by this section. An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
(h) In this section, "financially responsible adult" means a parent, guardian, spouse, or any other person whom the laws of this state hold responsible for the debts incurred as a result of hospitalization or treatment.
Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 158, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.772, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.