The parent’s of 5-day-old Olivia Marie Coats have launched a campaign to discontinue the use of forceps during child birth, alleging that forceps used during the delivery of their own child crushed the newborn’s skull and resulted in her death.
Forceps Blamed for Infant’s Death
Allen Coats, 25, and his fiancée Rachel Melancon, 24, have announced that they plan to sue their obstetrician, Dr. George T. Backardjiev, and the Medical Center of Southeast Texas for the death of their daughter he was pulled from life support January 2.
According to WHAS-11, Melancon had asked to have their daughter delivered via caesarian section, but Dr. Backardjiev had instead advised her to deliver the child vaginally.
Angie Coats, the infant’s grandmother who was present at the time of the birth, stated that the delivery did not begin until 18 hours after Melancon’s water had broke, and after five more hours, the baby had yet to reach the birth canal.
After Backardjiev failed to turn the child with his hands, Ms. Coats alleges that the doctor attempted to pull the baby using a pair of small forceps during which time the family heard a crack. Olivia was finally delivered by emergency C-section.
According to the family, the child was then taken from the room and the family was told that she was alive and would be transferred to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas; however, upon arriving to the new hospital, the family was informed that the child was not breathing on her own and had suffered numerous skull fractures and a severed spinal cord.
Olivia was taken off life support five days later.
Dangers of Using Forceps during Child Birth Known
“In the right hands they can save a baby’s life. It takes a lot of skill and practice to perform forceps delivery and most younger [obstretricians] have been trained in vacuum extraction.” – Dr. Jennifer L. Ashton to WHAS-11
Using forceps during delivery does carry significant risk and, as such, are fairly rare, accounting for only 1 percent of U.S. child births.
However, Dr. Jennifer L. Ashton, an obstetrician and gynecologist, states that forceps are sometimes necessary and should not be banned.
While she acknowledges that skull fracture is a known risk, there are times where there is no other option, including C-section, where a forceps delivery can ensure a safe delivery.
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