Antibiotic Eye Ointment for Newborns in Texas
In accordance with state law in Texas, your baby will be administered an antibiotic eye ointment immediately following delivery, usually within the first two hours.
This antibiotic eye ointment, called erythromycin, protects your baby from contracting opthalmia neonatorum, a type of pink eye that left untreated, could potentially cause blindness.
But this blindness-inducing pink eye the law strives to protect us from can only be transmitted to the baby if the mother has chlamydia or gonorrhea at the time of delivery. If you don't have chlamydia or gonorrhea, you cannot pass this type of pink-eye to your baby. This is an outdated law that needs updating to reflect current medical knowledge and technology.
Here's the deal: erythromycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and it could theoretically offer protection from other causes of pink eye but the evidence tells us that "routine eye prophylaxis in all babies is probably not worthwhile due to the high failure rates of the prophylactic regime."
But for us, the real issue is about choice.
The choice to make an informed decision with your care provider and for your care provider to be able to support that decision, without fear of criminal charges.
Yup, even if you sign a waiver stating your choice to decline the antibiotics, your care provider can face criminal charges. It's actually a misdemeanor for your care provider NOT to administer the ointment. That's not fair to all the wonderfully supportive providers out there or the families seeking the right to choose.