NY State LAW requires Vitamin K + Eye Drops? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-01-2008, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My midwife told me New York State Law does not give us the choice as to whether or not we want our newborn having the eye drops and vitamin K injection. (She said we can't even do oral vitamin K.) I delivered my first child in California and it wasn't a problem if I wanted to refuse anything. The idea of giving my newborn eye drops and the vitamin K injection really, really bothers me. Is this really legal? Has anyone in New York State had any success in refusing? I'm so upset...

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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I'm shocked that it hasn't been challeneged in court, it SHOULD be!

Whatever happened to parental choice? While Vit K is life saving in babes that need it, not ALL little ones do. As far as the eye drop, I think that is BS: unless a laboring Mom has an active STD, what is the point? I understand WHY its a routine thing but women should have choices as to what happens to their little ones: the state should have no say.

First they start with "little things" next, its "All pregnant women must deliver at the hosiptal" (I know it may seem like a stretch, but I could see it happening.

Anyhoo, I don't know what you can do about the vita K shot but I heard about a couple that went to a lawyer about it and got a letter saying that if the hosiptal did the vita k shot, they would sue (for denying them the RIGHT to choose)
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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Look into it further. My understanding is that states "require" it unless a waiver is signed. You might try posting in the NY tribal area too. I can't imagine they can override a lack of parental consent unless it's a life and death situation.

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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There is always some kind of waivers! There has to be a way to avoid it. I would be pissed!

 

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:00 PM
 
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Can you get a religious exemption?

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After spending some time on Google, there is no religious exemption for the eye drops or vitamin K. Also, NYS has been known to call in CPS for parents who refuse. :

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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It's the state law in GA too, but parents can refuse. The law applies to the medical people. THey're required to do it but you're not required to accept it (yes, very contradictory).

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Old 08-01-2008, 10:14 PM
 
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I have read about NY in several papers about consent and public health and the stories are always of CPS being called and a judge forcing the parents to do it or have their child removed from their custody (presumably until it is done). As far as I know, it applies to the Hep B vaccine as well. In practice, I have no knowledge of actual cases of that happening (other than those reported in said papers and articles). I remember making a mental note several years to never ever go anywhere near NY state when pregnant.

If I can find those articles, I'll try to come back and post a reference or a link.

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Old 08-01-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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Could you have an STD test done, and then have that put in with your birthplan and in your baby's files. That way, even if you turn down the eye drops any CPS agents or judges will see that you're not actually putting your child in danger by turning that one down.

About the Vit K oral drops, can you get a pediatrician to order the oral vit K and have that on hand to prove that you are indeed treating your child to prevent a brain bleed. I really don't see how anyone could claim you're harming your child, even if they do get social services involved.

It sucks that you're even having to consider this! It's your baby, you shouldn't have to argue with the state about treating your child for illnesses he doesn't have!
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Old 08-02-2008, 03:05 AM
 
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I too believe that it is the law that the medical personnel offer these procedures, but not that the parents accept them. Though I am in Ohio, and not absoultely sure about New York. I think it is entirely possible that your midwife is giving you inaccurate information. (possibly becuase she thinks you should have these procedures?...just my bias)
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:01 AM
 
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Quote:
STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Corning Tower
The Governor Nelson A Rockefeiler Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12237

Dennis P. Whalen
Executive Deputy Commissioner

September 10, 1999

Dear Colleague:

We have been alerted that a growing number of new parents are refusing to allow their newborns to receive a Vitamin K injection or eye prophylaxis. We are writing to remind you that both these interventions are required in New York State by both the sanitary code and the hospital code (Sections 12.2 and 405.21(e)(4)(v)(b), 10 NYCRR). Neither regulation exempts infants whose parents object to the practice. Since these treatments are mandated by state regulation, informed consent is unnecessary, and hospitals and individual providers cannot be sued for administering them. Conversely, a provider’s failure to administer these treatments could result in a citation. A parent’s refusal of these treatnents can be reported to Child Protective Services

In addition to being required by New York State regulations, Vitamin K and eye prophylaxis are both widely recognized by professionals as the standard of care for newborns. The Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 4th Edition (1997), published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend both interventions for all newborns.

Vitamin K is given within an hour of birth to prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, a potentially fatal condition. It must be given by injection, since oral vitamin K has not been shown to be as effective, and thereare no oral vitamin K preparations available for pediatric use in this country. Vitamin K prophylaxis is mandated for all newborns because the condition it prevents is life-threatening and because the intervention is itseff very safe. Vitamin K has been reported on rare occasions to cause hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn, but only at doses many times higher than the 0.5 - 1.0 mg dose recommended for preventing hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

Eye prophylaxis - either 1% silver nitrate solution or ophthalmic ointment containing erythromycin (0.5%) or tetracycline (1%) is given to prevent gonococcal and/or chiamydial infections of the eyes. These infections were once a common Cause of blindness and have now bean almost entirely eradicated through use of prophylactic medications. Eye prophylaxis is a universal requirement because of the seriousness of the condition prevented and because the treatment is effective and safe. Moreover, targeted prophylaxis, treating only infants of mothers known to be infected with gonorrhea and/or chiamydia, is not an effective approach to prevention in this case. Both these infections are common among women of childbearing age, and both organisms can be very difficult to culture. Targeted prophylaxis would miss many infants at risk and lead to many cases of preventable blindness. Parents may object to eye prophylaxis because they have heard that it causes serious eye irritation. While silver nitrate drops can cause an imtant conjunctivitis in the newborn, both of the antibiotic alternatives have minimal, side-effects and are highly effective.

If you have further questions about the application of these regulations, please contact the Bureau of Women’s Health at (518) 474-1911, or the Bureau of Hospital & Primary Care Services at (518) 402-1004.

Sincerely,

Mary Applegate, MD MPH
Medical Director
Bureau of Women’s Health

Frederick J, Heigel
Director
Bureau of Hospital & Primary Care Services
That sums up the Health Departments position.

What the law says:

Quote:
Effective Date: 19/07/2000
Title: Section 12.2 - Precautions to be observed for the prevention of purulent conjunctivitis of the newborn

12.2 Precautions to be observed for the prevention of purulent conjunctivitis of the newborn. It shall be the duty of the attending physician, licensed midwife, licensed nurse or other authorized provider in attendance at a delivery to place into the eyes of the infant, on delivery, an agent effective for preventing purulent conjunctivitis of the newborn, such as tetracycline or erythromycin eye preparation or a one percent solution of nitrate of silver.
Quote:
Effective Date: 19/07/2000
Title: Section 12.3 - Precautions to be observed for the prevention of hemorrhagic diseases and coagulation disorders of the newborn and infants related to vitamin K deficiency

12.3 Precautions to be observed for the prevention of hemorrhagic diseases and coagulation disorders of the newborn and infants related to vitamin K deficiency. It shall be the duty of the attending physician, licensed midwife, registered professional nurse or other licensed medical professional attending the newborn to assure administration of a single parenteral dose of 0.5-1.0 mg. of natural vitamin K(1) oxide (phytonadione) within one hour of birth.
From: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh...um/nycrr10.htm

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Old 08-02-2008, 05:56 AM
 
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i would see about traveling to a neighbor state to have your baby, talk to some midwives near the border, this just seems absurd.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:21 AM
 
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From what I know in NYS they hotline CPS if you refuse these. I called a vaccine information place, maybe this one, can't remember: http://www.vaclib.org/exempt/newyork.htm and they advised homebirth as a way to get around this. I did homebirths (and part of the reason I originally chose it was these particular interventions) but would probably allow the Vit K and eyedrops in the case of transfer. I have heard of people refusing then CPS getting hotlined, coming to the hospital and refusing to intervene on the grounds that it's not child abuse but I don't think I'd be comfortable taking that risk.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:32 AM
 
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When I gave birth in NYS, I was able to refuse them, but I had a homebirth. My midwife told me it was the law to have them, but she was able to allow me to refuse at home (against regulations).
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenniet View Post
After spending some time on Google, there is no religious exemption for the eye drops or vitamin K. Also, NYS has been known to call in CPS for parents who refuse. :
Exactly! You can refuse the Hep B here, but the rest is the law. It truly sucks! One of the many reasons I had a homebirth. I was able to refuse the at home.

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Old 08-03-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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From what I understand you can only decline them with a homebirth.

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Old 08-03-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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My midwife told me she was required to offer them and suggested that I tell the pediatrician "my midwife did everything she was supposed to do" if he/she asks if we had the vit. K and eye ointment done.

I do know she offers oral vit. K, though, so maybe that's a legal option in NYS?

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Old 08-03-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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It doesn't sounds like it's legal to decline them with a home birth either, just less likely to suffer a call to CPS.
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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I'm in NY and hoping for a home birth any day now (I'm 40w 5d) and basically from my understanding of it, if you are doing a homebirth you're not likely to get a CPS visit because nobody will call them. In a hospital if you refuse, somebody will call CPS. I was assured CPS won't come because I"m doing oral vit K at home birth and really, how would CPS know?
We're doing oral vit. k and no eye drops. Not sure on the legality per se, but I know of a lot of other people here who have done it that way or just not done both at home. If I ended up in a hospital transfer, I wouldn't really even try to deny them or modify them.

Also - our midwife does 6 weeks of our infant care including the certificates, PKU tests and all that stuff so I"m not worried there.

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Old 08-03-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniet View Post
After spending some time on Google, there is no religious exemption for the eye drops or vitamin K. Also, NYS has been known to call in CPS for parents who refuse. :
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrodjm View Post
Exactly! You can refuse the Hep B here, but the rest is the law. It truly sucks! One of the many reasons I had a homebirth. I was able to refuse the at home.
You'd think CPS would have better things to do. Maybe, oh, say, following up on cases of actual abuse?!?

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Old 08-03-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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If they call CPS, does it ever lead to anything? Here, vindictive hospital staff call CPS on people all the time for stuff like this, and homebirth transfers. CPS has to investigate but the way it usually goes is they come to your house, talk to you for a minute, then leave and close the case. I think they're so used to getting called for stupid crap like this they don't take it very seriously. I don't know of a baby ever being taken away from one of these calls where I live, when refusing medical procedures like those standard at birth were the reason for the call.

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Old 08-03-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SublimeBirthGirl View Post
If they call CPS, does it ever lead to anything?
I have heard of them taking temporary custody of the baby for long enough to administer the shot/drops.

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Old 08-03-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pyrodjm View Post
I have heard of them taking temporary custody of the baby for long enough to administer the shot/drops.
That is so WRONG. How can the government justify this??? I couldn't live in a state that is so disrespectful of personal freedom. Gross.

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Old 08-03-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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They justify it because they say that vit. k and the eye drops aren't vaccinations and are routine procedures for all babies born in hospital, so if parents decline them it requires a mandatory call to CPS and can result in parent's losing custody so that the hospital can administer them. I was able to decline the hep. B without a problem but could not decline the vit. k or eye drops. NY is becoming a lot more hostile toward vaccinations as well and exemptions in general are a lot harder to come by.

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Old 08-03-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by soso-lynn View Post
I have read about NY in several papers about consent and public health and the stories are always of CPS being called and a judge forcing the parents to do it or have their child removed from their custody (presumably until it is done). As far as I know, it applies to the Hep B vaccine as well.

Nope. You can turn down the vaccine, but not the vit k and eye goop.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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You are allowed to delay the eye goo and K for an hour. With both of my births (NY hospitals) I insisted on the full delay, then had the nurse do the goo and shot after I'd nursed the babe to sleep. The nurse wiped the goo on babe's closed eyes... I wiped it off. Then she gave the shot... neither babe woke.

It doesn't really remove the stupidity of forcing K/goo (I mean really, of all the things to require those two are a bit silly) but it's easier on the babe.

In terms of CPS... yes, they can remove the child from parental custody for the 30 seconds it takes. But it also means you're name is on a list somewhere. That may never be an issue, but if you know your life choices may be a bit outside the norm (you don't vax, you co-sleep, you radical unschool, you may UC in the future, you belong to a religious minority, etc) this could be an issue for you.

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