Infant Jaundice and blood transfusions

by purplesofa 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • purplesofa

    Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to share this. As you know my daughter recently had a little baby girl. She is THE MOST beautiful baby ever!!!. When she was born she had jaundice. I was not at all concerned, I had a child with juandice, put him under the lights and all will be fine.

    My grand daughters case was a bit more severe, with a bit of a scare. Even under the lights, her levels were not going down, the baby and mothers blood were fighting each other. The pediatrician came to tell us if things did not get better soon, the baby would need to be taken to another hospitol for better care and possibly a blood transfusion.

    I wondered how different my reaction wold have been had I been a practicing JW. Although, my daughter would have accepted the transfusion for her daughter I would have surely given my 2 cents on transfusions.

    I have never heard of a blood transfusion case with JW's and newborns having jaundice, but surely it has happened. I never knew jaundice could be that bad.

    So, just wanted to post FYI, an infant that could needlessly have brain damage, hearing loss, etc from denied blood transfusion.

    Does anyone know of this situaition among JW's?


    Symptoms Return to top

    The main symptom is a yellow color of the skin. The yellow color is best seen right after gently pressing a finger onto the skin. The color sometimes begins on the face and then moves down to the chest, belly area, legs, and soles of the feet.

    Sometimes, infants with significant jaundice have extreme tiredness and poor feeding.

    Exams and Tests Return to top

    All newborns should be examined for jaundice at least every 8 to 12 hours for the first day of life.

    Any infant who appears jaundiced in the first 24 hours should have bilirubin levels measured immediately. This can be done with a skin or blood test.

    Babies should be assigned a risk for later developing jaundice before they leave the hospital. Doctors use hourly bilirubin levels to predict a baby’s odds of later developing jaundice. Babies are classified as low risk , low intermediate risk, high intermediate risk, or high risk. Many hospitals do this by routinely checking total bilirubin levels on all babies at about 24 hours of age.

    Further testing varies on the infant's specific situation and test results. For example, the possible cause of the jaundice should be sought for babies who require treatment or whose total bilirubin levels are rising more rapidly than expected.

    Tests that will likely be done include:

    • Complete blood count
    • Coomb's test
    • Measurement of levels of specific types of bilirubin
    • Reticulocyte count

    Serum albumin levels may also be checked. Because bilirubin travels in the blood attached to albumin when possible, low albumin levels may increase the risk of damage from excessive jaundice.

    Treatment Return to top

    Treatment is usually not necessary. Keep the baby well-hydrated with breast milk or formula. Encourage frequent bowel movements by feeding frequently. This is because bilirubin is carried out of the body by the intestines in the stools. (Bilirubin is what gives stool their brown color).

    Sometimes special blue lights are used on infants whose levels are very high. This is called phototherapy. These lights work by helping to break down bilirubin in the skin. The infant is placed naked under artificial light in a protected isolette to maintain constant temperature. The eyes are protected from the light. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding be continued through phototherapy, if possible.

    In the most severe cases of jaundice, an exchange transfusion is required. In this procedure, the baby's blood is replaced with fresh blood. Recently, promising studies have shown that treating severely jaundiced babies with intravenous immunoglobulin is very effective at reducing the bilirubin levels to safe ranges.

    Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top

    Usually newborn jaundice is not harmful. For most babies, jaundice usually resolves without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks. However, if significant jaundice is untreated, very high levels of bilirubin can damage the brain. For babies who require treatment, the treatment is usually quite effective.

    Possible Complications Return to top

    Rare, but serious, complications from high bilirubin levels include:

    • Kernicterus -- brain damage from very high bilirubin levels
    • Deafness
    • Cerebral palsy

    When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top

    All babies should be seen by a health care provider in the first 5 days of life to check for jaundice.

    • Those who spend less than 24 hours in a hospital should be seen by age 72 hours.
    • Infants sent home between 24 and 48 hours should be seen again by age 96 hours.
    • Infants sent home between 48 and 72 hours should be seen again by age 120 hours.

    Jaundice is an emergency if the baby has a fever, has become listless, or is not feeding well. Jaundice may be dangerous in high-risk newborns.

    Jaundice is generally NOT dangerous in term, otherwise healthy newborns. Call the infant's health care provider if jaundice is severe (the skin is bright yellow), if jaundice continues to increase after the newborn visit, lasts longer than 2 weeks, or if other symptoms develop. Also call the doctor if the feet, particularly the soles, are yellow.

    Prevention Return to top

    In newborns, some degree of jaundice is normal and probably not preventable. The risk of significant jaundice can often be reduced by feeding babies at least 8 to 12 times a day for the first several days and by carefully identifying infants at highest risk.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    when I had my second child - 32 years ago - she had the same problem - jaundice. For her it was due to 3 issues - prematurity, RH incompatibility plus a blood type incompatibility

    The drs came in one morning and said the same - they might have to move her to the Children's Hospital for a possible transfusion.

    That just about did me in. They redid the test and said the first test was probably wrong (done on the weekend)

  • BFD

    Hi Purps. Poor little Jada Marie, I will be praying for her. Where's Mouthy when you need her?

    Oh, please dear God help little Jada Marie grow strong and heal from this test. What else would you call it? Amen.

    Love to you and yours,


  • FlyingHighNow

    Ugh, I lived this as a JW. Neither one of my children was okay and the not okay lasts until this day. My son's case was the worst of the two. Jesse spent time in intensive care and was so anemic for the first three months of is life, he could not be circumcised. The anti-bodies from me stayed in his system that long. This is the hardest thing to forgive myself for.

  • purplesofa

    Jada's levels did finally go down, she came home about a week after she was born. She is healthy and beautiful, full of personality and smiles alot.

    gotta go,


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    glad to hear she is OK


    Purps - glad the princess is ok, good to hear from you. We've missed you.

  • dinah

    Rh incompatibility, this reminds me of a woman who kept refusing Rhogam shots in the 70's. Her last two had jaundice--it was touch and go. Thankfully both kids lived.

    They are both df'd now.......once they grew up.

  • BFD
  • restrangled

    Hi Purps.....

    My first boy had a terrible case of jaundice....24 years ago....they were not going to let me take him home.

    The most important 2 things I had to do was keep him in the early morning sunlight an hour or two a day and nurse him.

    It all worked out. Part of the reason it happened....I had a bad delivery, no pain killers but induced labor which sent me into a very high blood pressure situation....and I blacked out. The petocin is not good for babies, and they did not allow me to nurse him until 48 hours he developed the jaundice.

    Babies are very tough little sweeties. Keep them nursed by mama and they will come through!


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