Mechanic Develops Medical Device that Could Save Millions of Lives
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An invention from Argentine car mechanic Jorge Odón could prevent complications or infant death during childbirth. The device was inspired by a YouTube video, which shows how to extract a cork that has pushed to the bottom of a wine bottle using a plastic bag: the bottom of the bag is inserted into the spout of the bottle, which is then inverted, so the cork is positioned near the spout. The bag is inflated and then pulled, which yanks the cork out.
In a dream, Odón had the idea to use a similar technique to facilitate obstructed labor, which can occur when the baby’s head is too large to easily pass through the birth canal. Across the world, the condition injures or proves fatal for millions of babies or mothers—especially in developing nations. In developed nations, forceps or suction cups are used to pull the baby out. When used incorrectly, they can injury the baby’s head or spine.
In the Odón device prototype Odón substituted a glass jar for a mother’s womb. He showed that the cloth-based suction device worked by retrieving his daughter’s doll from the jar.
The most recent version of the device, which will be manufactured by Becton Dickinson, uses a specialized plastic bag with a lubricated plastic sleeve, which fits around a baby’s head. This apparatus is then inflated, allowing it to grip a baby’s head. The device can then be pulled by an attendant until a baby is freed from the birth canal. Since the device is very gentle on a baby’s head, there’s minimal risk of injury to a child.