Howard and Melissa of Boca Raton, Florida, were the happy new parents of twins, a boy and a girl named Andrew and Carly. Though they were preemies born in mid-July, both babies were safely home two weeks later. "Then suddenly," Howard wrote to us, "Andrew had to be admitted to the ER. We thought it was for something little - but the doctors discovered something major." The doctors observed that his hemoglobin levels had dropped substantially - from 14 to 7 - since he was born. (Carly was not tested.)
"Since hemoglobin is what takes oxygen to the brain," continues Howard, "the doctors wanted to do an emergency blood transfusion - and time was of the essence." But to the dismay of the parents, the doctors said the cord blood they had conscientiously saved would not help: They would need to use a stranger's blood, since there was no time to process theirs.
"We were shaken and quite upset," Howard recalls. "Armed with only a cell phone - and a very low battery - I was able to Google [hemoglobin "premature infant"] and found a medical journal article claiming that it's perfectly normal for preemies to have their hemoglobin levels drop to 7 between the first and third months of life, and apparently this is especially true with twins." He showed the mobile screen citing this fact to the neonatalogists, who went off to research the issue for a couple of hours. They returned, says Howard, "and sheepishly admitted that our son was indeed fine - no treatment was necessary."
Howard concludes, "Google literally saved our newborn son from having to endure an extremely dangerous, and totally unnecessary, blood transfusion."
Religious beliefs aside, blood transfusions are a common procedure and aren't that dangerous. I think the more concerning thing going on here is the neonatologists not knowing their shit. I know doctors have a lot of information to remember and regurgitate at the appropriate time, they should know stuff like this.