When Krista Deary decided not give her newly born baby boy Judah a vitamin K injection, she was simply following the ‘logical’ conclusions of her anti-vaccination beliefs. Why worry? Her baby was healthy and her other five kids who never received the shot were too.
One month later, little baby Judah was found to have stopped breathing and in the thralls of a seizure.
At the hospital, Deary learned of Judah’s condition and that he had suffered from two brain hemorrhages. Hospital staff told her, “Had you given your baby the shot, this probably would have never happened.”
Three years later, Judah is still unable to walk, crawl or even sit up. He suffers from cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, where fluid builds up in his brain cavities.
Vitamin K injection at birth is a safe, effective, & simple step that can prevent a lifetime of challenges. http://t.co/CekNiPS1Ah
— CDC (@CDCgov) November 18, 2013
According to the CDC, vitamin K is a substance that our body uses to prevent blood clots and stop bleeding. Humans primarily get the mineral through food, but some is also made by the good bacteria that lives in the intestines. Babies are born with little amounts of vitamin K, which can lead to serious bleeding problems if not supplemented, hence the vitamin K shot.
Science-denying parents in this country are choosing to opt-out of the life-saving shot for their children in the hopes of preventing conditions like autism or ADHD — a link to vaccines that has been thoroughly debunked.
While there is no proven link (direct or otherwise) suggesting vaccines cause such diseases or ailments, the anti-vaxxer movement continues to live on and spread misinformation to gullible and fearful parents.
“This seemed to be an issue that a lot of mothers were struggling with, and there was a lot of confusion surrounding this topic,” Rebecca Dekker, a nursing professor and researcher behind the popular Evidence Based Birth website. “They did not expect to find that vitamin K was so effective at essentially eliminating the risk of newborn bleeding.”
— Megan Morris (@MegMorrisNBCLA) December 30, 2015
In an effort to halt this growing movement, Dearey and Stefani Leavitt, 26, another mother whose baby suffered serious brain bleeding, are sharing their stories as part of a new program by the CDC to educate expecting mothers and health care providers about the risks of refusing to get the routine newborn injections, primarily vitamin K.
“I can’t change what happened to Olive, but I can try to prevent it from happening to another baby,” said Leavitt. Olive was also a month-old when she underwent surgery to repair massive brain bleeding which had caused a stroke.
“The information I was given caused me to fear the shot greatly. Now that I know more, I’m no longer scared of it. I see it as a blessing,” said Dearey, expecting another baby. “Our seventh baby will definitely be receiving it.”
Feature image via Flickr