• Marcewicz LH, Clayton J, Maenner M, Odom E, Okoroh E, Christensen D, Goodman A, Warren MD, Traylor J, Miller A, Jones T, Dunn J, Schaffner W, Grant A. Parental Refusal of Vitamin K and Neonatal Preventive Services: A Need for Surveillance. Maternal and child health journal. 2017 Jan 4. PMID: 28054156 [PubMed].


Objectives Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) in infants is a coagulopathy preventable with a single dose of injectable vitamin K at birth. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated vitamin K refusal among parents in 2013 after learning of four cases of VKDB associated with prophylaxis refusal. Methods Chart reviews were conducted at Nashville-area hospitals for 2011-2013 and Tennessee birthing centers for 2013 to identify parents who had refused injectable vitamin K for their infants. Contact information was obtained for parents, and they were surveyed regarding their reasons for refusing. Results At hospitals, 3.0% of infants did not receive injectable vitamin K due to parental refusal in 2013, a frequency higher than in 2011 and 2012. This percentage was much higher at birthing centers, where 31% of infants did not receive injectable vitamin K. The most common responses for refusal were a belief that the injection was unnecessary (53%) and a desire for a natural birthing process (36%). Refusal of other preventive services was common, with 66% of families refusing vitamin K, newborn eye care with erythromycin, and the neonatal dose of hepatitis B vaccine. Conclusions for Practice Refusal of injectable vitamin K was more common among families choosing to give birth at birthing centers than at hospitals, and was related to refusal of other preventive services in our study. Surveillance of vitamin K refusal rates could assist in further understanding this occurrence and tailoring effective strategies for mitigation.