Are there some baby delivery procedures that should be banned? A couple claims a forceps delivery crushed their baby's skull and caused brain death. Rachel Melancon and her fiancée Allen Coats just buried their baby daughter this weekend, five days after the infant's delivery. (Baby Olivia had been on life support.) Now Melancon and Coats are suing their obstetrician, Dr. George T. Backardjiev, for using forceps to deliver their daughter instead of doing a C-section, as Melancon claims she requested. And they're doing more -- they've posted a petition proposing the Olivia Law, which would ban the use of forceps in delivery.
Rachel Melancon is 4 feet, 11 inches and weighed just 95 pounds before her pregnancy, according to her Allen's mother, Angie Coats. Olivia weighed 7 pounds, 14.9 ounces and measured 22 inches long at birth. Rachel was worried about delivering the baby and carried Olivia past her Christmas Day due date. Angie told ABC News:
Rachel had a normal, healthy pregnancy and the day she went in to see if she could be induced, it was already after Christmas. The baby was so gigantic inside of her. She asked, "Can you please give me a C-section? This baby isn't coming out of me."
But Angie says Dr. Backardjiev refused, saying:
"No, you don't want a C-section. You'll have a scar." During her delivery, the baby's heart rate kept going up. He said, "One more hour, one more hour." Her water broke, but it was 18 hours until the delivery. [Rachel] was running a 103 fever ... Five hours passed, then he came in and she started to push. But she was so worn out and the baby wasn't even in the birth canal.
Backardjiev tried to turn the baby with his hands, then started using the forceps. Angie says he even put a foot up for leverage. What happened next, according to Angie's telling, may be hard to read, just warning you.
He was turning and twisting and she would never come out. He put the forceps one way and the other. When he touched the top and side of the skull, we heard a pop, like clay cracking in pottery and heard her skull crush.
And after all that, Dr. Backardjiev finally delivered Olivia via C-section anyway. The family was told that the baby was born alive, but when they were transferred to a different hospital, they were told the baby had not been breathing when she was born, and that she had suffered skull fractures.
Keep in mind, we are only hearing the baby's family's side of the story. Dr. Backardjiev has not been speaking with the media about this birth. And he has not had his day in court.
But the story raises some alarming questions for expecting parents. What happens if your doctor wants to perform one procedure and you request a different one? What if the tables had been turned, and Rachel had requested forceps while her doctor recommended a C-section?
The use of forceps has been in decline and the rate of C-sections has been rising. Doctors defend the use of forceps in certain circumstances and say they save lives. Was Dr. Backardjiev just not trained well enough?
Do you think the use of forceps for delivery should be outlawed?
Image via ABC News