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Article |

Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn

L. REX EHLING, M.D.
Am J Dis Child. 1961;101(2):241-248. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.04020030105016.
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The problem of hemorrhage in the newborn has been under study for many years but continues to be a subject of considerable controversy. The danger of bleeding in the neonatal period has been recognized since antiquity. Many specific cases had been reported before 1894, when Townsend first described the entity he called "hemorrhagic disease of the newborn."1 He distinguished this condition from the large group of children who exhibited excessive bleeding in the first few days after birth, and who were considered previously to have hemophilia. He noted that the babies with hemorrhagic disease frequently bled from multiple sites, and that this occurred usually during the first 7 days of life. Townsend recognized the high mortality associated with the disease and stressed the favorable prognosis in patients who lived beyond the first week in contrast with other babies, believed to have hemophilia, who bled beyond the seventh day.

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