Car Mechanic Invents Tool To Ease Births

A new device on how to ease difficult childbirths comes from an unusual source — a car mechanic, inspired after watching a YouTube video on how to get a cork out of a wine bottle.

The video showed the trick of how to get a cork out of a wine bottle. You stick in a plastic bag, blog up the bag so it presses up against the cork, and then pull the bag and the cork out together.

59-year-old Jorge Odón of Argentina (pictured below, with his family) woke up at 4 AM one night and realized you could do the same trick on a baby that's having difficulty getting out of the womb. The New York Times reports that he first tested out the idea in his kitchen using a glass jar for the womb, his daughter's doll for the baby, and a fabric bag sewn by his wife.

Car Mechanic Invents Tool To Ease Births

You can watch the system in action (on in a glass jar, don't worry) right here.

And now the WHO fully approves of the system, known as the Odón device. It's an alternative to what is currently used in the case of a difficult birth — either forceps, or a suction cup, either of which can cause hemorrhages, crush the baby's skull, or twist its spine.

The Odón device stands out because it's easy to use, and cheap, which makes a huge difference for poor, rural communities. Dr. Mario Merialdi, the chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health at the W.H.O. told the Times that in poor countries, "if the baby doesn't come out, the woman is on her own." The Odón device changes that.

What's amazing is that obstetrician agree it makes sense that this innovation came from someone completely outside the field, from someone who is used to tinkering, from someone like a car mechanic. Dr. Merialdi explained to the Times.

[T]his problem needed someone like Jorge. An obstetrician would have tried to improve the forceps or the vacuum extractor, but obstructed labor needed a mechanic.

You can learn more about the Odón device on their website odondevice.org and more about its development at the New York Times.

Photo Credits: Dispositivo Odón, TELEFE