Refusing Erythromycin eye ointment in Texas? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 47 Old 06-19-2009, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I will be having a hospital birth this September in the DFW area, and I was wondering if anyone knew the procedure for refusing the Erythromycin eye ointment they put on after birth? I am already planning on refusing the Vitamin K and Hep B injections, but I keep hearing that the eye ointment is required in Texas. Will I just have to fill out some sort of refusal form at the hospital, or is it really impossible to refuse the ointment?

ETA: I will be delivering at Baylor All-Saints in Fort Worth if that makes a difference.

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#2 of 47 Old 06-19-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I just wrote it in my birth plan, then reminded the birth team of it when I got to the hospital. My husband watched our baby like a hawk if she was separated from me. He reminded them also. I ended up with a c-section so I don't know if this made them not really make a fuss about it. Although, I think they do it on section babies anyways, so idk.

I was planning on a VBAC at a birth center and I vaguely remember signing something at like 38 weeks opting out of it....Maybe they just transferred that to the OB when I got dropped.
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#3 of 47 Old 06-19-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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I tried. My OB and pedi both said it was a state law and I was too over it to make a fuss about it. So, my LO got it, but I wiped as much off as I could as soon as I got him back. I had a CS and thought it was sooooo stupid, but oh well.

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#4 of 47 Old 06-19-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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It's a law? I didn't know much about it before hand, I wouldn't have refused it at that time. But I remember thinking, "I thought they put ointment in their eyes?" after I had my baby. I never saw anything in her eyes. It was a c-sec and I know we were seperated for a little bit... but her dad took pics of her after her bath and her eyes are wide and open and I never saw any ointment.

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#5 of 47 Old 06-20-2009, 02:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteg0 View Post
I tried. My OB and pedi both said it was a state law and I was too over it to make a fuss about it. So, my LO got it, but I wiped as much off as I could as soon as I got him back. I had a CS and thought it was sooooo stupid, but oh well.
Even if it is a state law you can still refuse it. The Government can not mandate that you absolutely must have the eye ointment. You can refuse anything medical wise in the United States.

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#6 of 47 Old 06-20-2009, 02:47 AM
 
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Just include in your legal documents that state you are refusing the shots that you also wish to refuse the eye ointment, and then don't let the baby be separated from you or your DH. We did this at Plano Presby so it certainly can be done. It wasn't a big deal. The nurses knew we weren't doing the shots and the eye stuff..and nobody made a fuss.
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#7 of 47 Old 06-20-2009, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually ended up at the hospital yesterday with pre-term contractions, so I asked a nurse...apparently a new law passed fairly recently in Texas stating that if the nurses do not do the eye ointment, they can be held legally responsible. I don't know if that means it is an absolute impossibility, it may just mean I have to get some sort of notarized legal document stating that I don't want the ointment, and will not sue in the case of an eye infection after birth.

Jessica , wife to L (8-5-05), Mama to H (9-18-09)
Regretting our decision to circ after complications that could have killed our baby boy!
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#8 of 47 Old 06-20-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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I think this is one of those things that really depends on the hospital and you have to decide how far you are willing to take it. I have heard nurses say that they will call CPS if parents refuse the eye drops. Even though you are within your legal rights to refuse, most of us don't want to deal with a visit from CPS. I would talk to your pediatrician about it and get a feel for the policy at the hospital. Some don't make a big deal about it, others can make your life very difficult.
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#9 of 47 Old 06-20-2009, 11:19 PM
 
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It is not state law.

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#10 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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I remember reading that it IS a state law but the law is that the care provider must attempt/offer the drops NOT that you must accept it. I wish I could remember where I read that.
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#11 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OperaDiva View Post
I actually ended up at the hospital yesterday with pre-term contractions, so I asked a nurse...apparently a new law passed fairly recently in Texas stating that if the nurses do not do the eye ointment, they can be held legally responsible. I don't know if that means it is an absolute impossibility, it may just mean I have to get some sort of notarized legal document stating that I don't want the ointment, and will not sue in the case of an eye infection after birth.
I haven't heard this and don't think it is even possible. As a nurse I have the right to refuse to administer any medication I'm not comfortable giving. Another nurse can step in and give it but I'm not required by law (by force) to administer any one medication.

I believe it is a misdemeanor offense to refuse, IIRC, so just tell them to call the cops down to right you a ticket. I'm guessing they won't bother.

You do need to watch the baby like a hawk however because if it's part of the their 'routine' right after birth they might do it so quickly (without thinking) that you don't have a chance to stop them.

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#12 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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From everything I have heard and read, the law in Texas overrides the parent's right to decline, because it is a "public health risk". Every medical professional I or friends giving birth has talked to said the same thing, they risk their jobs and possibly legal action if they don't give the baby eye drops. How did this law pass??

Jessica , wife to L (8-5-05), Mama to H (9-18-09)
Regretting our decision to circ after complications that could have killed our baby boy!
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#13 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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So this is a new (within 2 years) law then? I birthed in a hospital and refused the Hep B shot and eye goop no problem. They did talk to us about it and I looked DH in the eye and said "this is the time to admit if you've been having an affair because I was screened for STDs at start of pregnancy and have not been cheating" half in jest and half just for the emphasis because the nurse kept saying what if I have contracted the infection. Our pedi was fine with not doing it then and we'll have the same one for this upcoming birth...
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#14 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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Here is the law, it goes back to at least 1989 and was last amended in 2001. It really is a law, but it is only a misdemeanor. However the misdemeanor goes on the doctor or midwife, not the parent.

Texas Health & Safety Code.

§ 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, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended
by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 158, § 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts
2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 14.772, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
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#15 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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I had ds less than a year ago in a hospital in Austin and no one batted an eye when I said no eye ointment. They brought a refusal form next day, said it took them awhile to find it since no one refuses the eye goop.
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#16 of 47 Old 06-21-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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I had DD at a hospital in the Houston area in 2006. No one said anything negative at all about us refusing the eye treatment. The nurses had no issue with it at all. My pediatrician had no issue with it. No one asked us to sign any form declining it. It was a non-issue.

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#17 of 47 Old 06-22-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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I had to sign forms stating my refusal for that and the heel-stick stuff with my midwife. I think she made me do that to cover herself from liability, though. I don't think I did the goop with any of my homebirth babies.

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#18 of 47 Old 06-22-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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My daughter was born in Nov 2003 in a free-standing birthing center and we just documented it as parents declined the eye ointment. It's in writing, so I have to wonder if there's another law that discusses parental consent, not just for eye ointment but for a broader class of medical procedures for minors.
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#19 of 47 Old 06-22-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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I just delivered DD at Baylor Downtown Dallas in February and was told by my midwife it was a law that had been ammended in 2008 and it seemed more like if you refuse the healthcare workers will get in a whole heap of trouble. She made it seem like something serious had happened recently which caused them to be a lot more strict about it.
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#20 of 47 Old 06-22-2009, 08:54 PM
 
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I never had any problems at all w/ my homebirths. I signed a paper for my mw (October 2001) and then had a UC for my next, so it was irrelevant.

Tell your doc, tell the nurses, and make sure your partner stays w/ the baby at all times and declines.

I'm one that would tell them to just have the cops write me a ticket.

Nobody has any right to tell me what health procedures to do w/ my kids.

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#21 of 47 Old 06-22-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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I had my babies in 2006 and 2008 and didnt have issues with it. They will always make it seem like it is a law or that if you dont do it you will get in trouble or they will get in trouble.

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#22 of 47 Old 06-23-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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hi

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#23 of 47 Old 07-11-2009, 03:26 AM
 
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I had my baby 6 weeks ago and refused it--nurse gave me no problems whatsoever.

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#24 of 47 Old 07-11-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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I just gave birth (my hb turned into a hosp transfer) and we refused everything with no problem. Didn't even have to sign anything.

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#25 of 47 Old 03-27-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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Did you figure it out? It is a statutory requirement that a nurse or midwife attending a delivery apply this ointment. Failure to do so is a class B misdemeanor on the part of the practitioner. A waiver or refusal of care submitted by the parent does not relieve the practitioner form liability. I'm not sure how to get around this law, either.

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#26 of 47 Old 03-28-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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ditto above.. you can refuse any treatment. If you want to refuse it before hand, make up and sign something similar to this so that they can't 'oops, we forgot you refused' on you.


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#27 of 47 Old 06-17-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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In the State of Texas, there is no option to "opt out" of the erythromycin eye ointment for newborns.  It is a reportable offense to CPS if the parents refuse, as well as a criminal offense for the hospital & staff for not complying with the law.  "The Texas Health & Safety Code section 81.091 (g) requires every physician, midwife, nurse or other person in attendance at childbirth to use prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. “Failure to comply with this provision is a Class B misdemeanor” (fine not to exceed $2000 and/or incarceration for not more than 180 days)."

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#28 of 47 Old 06-18-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Texasnurse View Post

In the State of Texas, there is no option to "opt out" of the erythromycin eye ointment for newborns.  It is a reportable offense to CPS if the parents refuse, as well as a criminal offense for the hospital & staff for not complying with the law.  "The Texas Health & Safety Code section 81.091 (g) requires every physician, midwife, nurse or other person in attendance at childbirth to use prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. “Failure to comply with this provision is a Class B misdemeanor” (fine not to exceed $2000 and/or incarceration for not more than 180 days)."


 

They have to offer by law.  A parent can decline.  As mentioned repeatedly in this thread parents in Texas decline every day without problem.

 

-Angela

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#29 of 47 Old 06-18-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post


 

They have to offer by law.  A parent can decline.  As mentioned repeatedly in this thread parents in Texas decline every day without problem.

 

-Angela

Yep, it's a misdemeanor for the hospital/staff... not me as a parent. AND, they can call CPS all they want, they can't force ANY procedure on my child or me, that's my FEDERAL right. :D
 

 


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#30 of 47 Old 06-26-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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The ointment IS state mandated but there are ways around it.  If you have it in your birth plan and insist that daddy give it (without medical staff hovering) he can "administer" the ointment as he wishes.


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