WHO testing car mechanic’s invention for vaginal delivery

November 21, 2013

A low-cost instrument that an auto mechanic invented to ease assisted vaginal delivery is being tested by the World Health Organization (WHO). If proven safe and effective, the Odon Device would be the first innovation in operative vaginal delivery since the forceps and vacuum extractor.

 

A low-cost instrument that an auto mechanic invented to ease assisted vaginal delivery is being tested by the World Health Organization (WHO). If proven safe and effective, the Odon Device would be the first innovation in operative vaginal delivery since the forceps and vacuum extractor.

As described in The New York Times, Argentinian Jorge Odon built a prototype 7 years ago “using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter’s doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device.”  The idea for the instrument, he said, came to him after watching a YouTube video that showed how a blown up plastic bag could be used to get a cork out of an empty bottle.  A video of the Odon Device in action can be seen on YouTube.

Made of polyethylene, the Odon Device is intended to facilitate delivery when complications occur in the second stage of labor. It has potential to be safer and easier to apply than forceps and vacuum extractor and may be a safe alternative to some cesarean sections in areas of limited surgical capacity. Because it reduces contact between the baby’s head and the birth canal, the Odon Device also may prevent infections acquired during delivery.

According to the WHO’s Odon Device website, it is being tested in a two-phase study in Argentina and South Africa. The report from The New York Times indicates that WHO will test on “women in normal labor in China, India and South Africa and then on 170 women in obstructed labor.”  It has already been tested for safety on 30 Argentine women in normal labor in a hospital setting.

Research grants for the Odon Device have been provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Grand Challenges Canada. It will be manufactured by Becton, Dickinson and Company.  

Commenting on The New York Times article, Editorial Board member Joshua A. Copel, MD, said, “The device is remarkable as described. I share the hope that this device can help women and children in both the developed world and resource-poor areas. This will require extensive testing to be sure that the safety profile is acceptable, in other words that it is as least as safe as the alternatives of forceps, vacuum and cesarean birth.”

 

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