Unlikely ideas to save lives: the Odon Device
From a parlor trick to an obstetric invention
Jorge Odon was a fine car mechanic and a part-time inventor, with several car-related inventions on his own, until he saw the party trick on how to pull out a cork from wine bottle using only a plastic bag, that led to a revolutionary idea to disrupt conventional obstetrics.
He was intrigued by this trick and almost immediately found its applicability to assist childbirth delivery. After consulting friends, family, and many medical professionals on the possibility of using the helping, he invented and patented the pilot working antetype, which later became the Odon Device.
The device uses a plastic sleeve that inflates around the infant's head to grasp it. It is then used to gentle pull and ease head of the infant through the birth canal. Compared to forceps and vacuum extractors that cause accidental scabbing and fracture to infant's head , the Odon Device does not incur such damage. And it helps to reduce chances of fatal complications such as hemorrhage, infection, and birth asphyxia.
This invention has attracted massive interests and patronage from major government and health organizations as well as renowned foundations: the World Health Organization, USAID, the Gates Foundations, the Clinton foundations and other research institutions.
According to USAID, the Odon device has successfully helped deliver 30 healthy babies in clinical trials and could benefit safer childbirth on global scale. Based on WHO's statistics, more than 300,000 women die from preventable causes in childbirth. The number could be significantly reduce the current number. Plus the device reportedly only costs $50. The inexpensiveness sheds light on mass adoption in the impoverished regions where poor and scarce medical resources leads to inevitably high childbirth mortality rate.
The Odon Device is still being tested for safety and effectiveness and will undergo further clinical trials. According to New York Times, 100 more trials will be conducted on normal labor in China, India, and South Africa and 170 more on obstructed labor by the WHO. The exact launch time is yet to be released, as FDA approval is still up in the air.