A group of parents have filed a lawsuit against several hospitals in Illinois after they were subjected to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigations into allegations of medical neglect after declining Vitamin K shots for their newborn babies.
Hospitals in the United States have widely used Vitamin K shots at birth since the 1960s to prevent a rare bleeding disorder.
Angela and Brian Bougher, two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that Silver Cross Hospital nurses took their newborn Glori away just minutes after she was born. They decided to refuse their newborn they eye ointment erythromycin as well as the Vitamin K shot that can prevent rare bleeding in the brain or intestines.
“I don’t have a picture of me with her. It was just really traumatic,” Angela said.
Glori was born at a time that DCFS considered it potential medical neglect to refuse babies a Vitamin K shot or erythromycin eye ointment.
Courtney Hill and James Holderman also decided to decline the Vitamin K shot when their daughter Abigail was born at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale.
Both sets of parents were investigated for weeks, but DCFS found both cases of alleged medical neglect to be unfounded.
“My wife was traumatized. You know, we’re scared, and I thought this is maybe a fluke. But now I see this is a widespread practice, and it’s impacting many, many parents,” James said.
“Later on they backtrack, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, we shouldn’t have done that.’ Like, time out, that’s it? Yeah, we’re relieved for us and for others, but at the same time the outrage and the violation, it’s not gone,” Brian said. “There was no apology.”
Richard Dvorak, an attorney for all the parents, said that it’s likely that more parents will want to join the lawsuit.
“To interfere with a family’s decision to make medical choices on behalf of their children, you have to do it on a case-by-case basis,” Dvorak said. “You cannot come up with these blanket policies that apply to everyone. That is blatantly unconstitutional. It also flies in the face of Illinois law.”