A couple uses Google to save their infant from a blood transfusion

“Google literally saved our newborn son from having to endure an extremely dangerous, and totally unnecessary, blood transfusion. Melissa and I really appreciated your help with this one.” (via Clinical Cases and Images)

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  • Bruce Small

    “…it’s perfectly normal for preemies to have their hemoglobin levels drop to 7 between the first and third months of life.”

    I’m a little confused.

    Does “normal” mean it isn’t dangerous?

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the parents that it appears the procedure was unnecessary….

    HOwever I disagree with them that this was some kind of dangerous invasive procedure with a high risk burden.

    ITs a simple procedure with a low complication rate.

  • Anonymous

    Armed with all the information a cell phone screen can display these parents thought that they could meaningfully add to the medical knowledge of the NICU team. The team likely had decades of combined clinical experience with thousands of children in similar circumstance.

    Thus the medical team with loads of medical training and expience, having seen the effects of transfusion, as well as the effects of not transfusing, were overruled by the parents.

    What the parents see as a victory achieved only by their input, was in reality a capitulation by the medical team.

    I do this with some frequency. With knowledge based on thousands of journal articles read, thousands of hours of study, thousands of hours of in hospital training and a decade of practice I’ve come to realize that their are nuances to interpreting and applying any one study result to any one patient. Yet in the end, it is often easier to capitulate to the parental wishes. I, foolishly or not, try to cover myself with informed consent, paraphrased as “I believe this proposed plan to be inferior. It carries these risks which I believe to be increased over my proposed plan. If you wish to accept these increased risks, recognizing that they can result in serious or even life threating condition, then we can proceed”. I suppose some day I’ll get the opportunity to try this out in court.

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