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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported August 5, 2014

Babies Hemorrhage After Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Vitamin K is needed by our bodies for blood clotting and it’s one of the first shots offered to newborns. More parents are choosing to skip shots and not vaccinate their children, believing it’s unhealthy and unnecessary. Now the CDC is reporting as surge of cases of life-threatening brain bleeds in babies who weren’t vaccinated.

When the Shaker family had their twins, they decided against immunizations.

Melissa Shaker told Ivanhoe, “Immunizations don’t seem very natural. So I just wanted to stay away from them at least for a year.”

But two months after bringing the boys home, baby Silas turned very pale.

“Like he looked like he was dying white. It was scary,” Melissa Shaker told Ivanhoe.

Father of baby Silas, Mark Shaker told Ivanhoe, “One of the first questions that was asked of her in the hospital was did you get the vitamin K shot?”

The Shakers hadn’t. Silas had vitamin K deficiency and suffered multiple brain bleeds.

Typically the blood clotting disorder only affects 1 in 100,000 babies. But Silas is 1 of 7 cases Vanderbilt doctors have seen in the last year.

Mark Shaker said, “Had we known some of these things, we could have made smarter decisions.”

Pediatric Hematologist, Robert Sidonio, Jr. MD, Msc. of Vanderbilt University told Ivanhoe, “Thankfully he was one of the cases that we’d seen after we’d already seen a couple of cases and so we gave vitamin K immediately to this child.”

Doctor Sidonio believes the numbers could surge in the future because of the trend of parents refusing immunizations.

Sidonio told Ivanhoe, “Probably somewhere in the range of 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 kids will develop this.”

While doctors were able to stop the bleeding in Silas, he has to take medications for seizures and he’s in physical therapy to retrain his left side.

Mark Shaker told Ivanhoe, “Only time will tell. You know, will he respond to therapy? Will there be any other residual side effects of this?”

To be safe, Silas’ twin Abel was also treated and is doing fine.

Doctor Sidonio says many parents have declined the vitamin K shot because of a single study circulated on the internet linking it to leukemia. But he says at least 10 studies since then have shown there is absolutely no link. 

For additional research on this article, click here.

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If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Kim Groves at


Craig Boerner
Media Director, National News Director 
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Phone:  615-322-4747


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