Home | News | Regional | 'We heard a pop like pottery cracking': Parents heartbroken as baby girl dies after skull and spine were broken during forceps delivery

'We heard a pop like pottery cracking': Parents heartbroken as baby girl dies after skull and spine were broken during forceps delivery

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  • Rachel Melancon and Allen Coats plan to sue obstetrician and Texas hospital
  • Couple claim doctor pulled with such force he had foot up on table
  • Baby Olivia Marie died five days after traumatic delivery

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 16:53 EST, 3 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:53 EST, 3 January 2014

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The parents of a baby girl who died after her skull was crushed during a forceps delivery are suing the Texas hospital where she was born.

Rachel Melancon had experienced a healthy pregnancy, but when a doctor at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas used forceps during the birth on December 28 it had devastating consequences.

As the medical device was clamped around her baby's head, the 24-year-old and her fiance Allen Coats claim they heard a popping sound as their daughter's skull was crushed.

Heartbroken: Allen Coats and Rachel Melancon with baby Olivia whose skull was crushed during an attempted forceps delivery

Heartbroken: Allen Coats and Rachel Melancon with baby Olivia whose skull was crushed during an attempted forceps delivery

Damage: Baby Olivia was born with a fractured skull and broken spinal cord, which left her brain damaged

Damage: Baby Olivia was born with a fractured skull and broken spinal cord, which left her brain damaged

The baby girl, named Olivia Marie, survived for five more days after being left brain damaged and with a fractured skull and severed spinal cord.

Her parents plan to sue their obstetrician, Dr George T Backardjiev, and the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.

The couple have also started a Facebook campaign page to petition against the use of forceps in all births.

Ms Melancon, at 4ft 11in and weighing 95lb before she became pregnant, had asked for a cesarean section when her baby was overdue and large, considering her mother's petite frame.

But doctors warned her against having that type of delivery, saying she'd be left with a scar, her mother-in-law Angie Coats told ABC News.

After going into labor, baby Oliva's heart rate was increasing but the expectant mom kept being told to wait.

'It was 18 hours until the delivery. [Rachel] was running a 103 fever ... Five hours passed, then [the obstetrician] came in and she started to push. But she was so worn out and the baby wasn't even in the birth canal,' Ms Coats said.

Hope: Rachel had experienced a healthy pregnancy and the couple were looking forward to their baby's arrival

Hope: Rachel had experienced a healthy pregnancy and the couple were looking forward to their baby's arrival

Difficulties: Rachel had asked for a C-section because she was overdue and her baby was comparatively large for her petite 4ft 11in frame. Her request was turned down

Difficulties: Rachel had asked for a C-section because she was overdue and her baby was comparatively large for her petite 4ft 11in frame. Her request was turned down

Campaign: Rachel and Allen, pictured with Olivia, have started a petition to have forceps banned

Campaign: Rachel and Allen, pictured with Olivia, have started a petition to have forceps banned

She claimed the baby was facing the wrong way and Dr Backardjiev tried to turn her with his hands.

'When he couldn't do that, he took the small forceps to try to pull the baby out. He kept going and even put his foot up on the bed trying to pull,' she said.

'When he touched the top and side of the skull, we heard a pop, like clay cracking in pottery and heard her skull crush.'

Ms Melancon was rushed off for an emergency cesarean but when Olivia was finally delivered the family say she was unable breathe.

Their baby was rushed to Hermann Hospital, where the parents were told that she had suffered numerous fractures.

In a post on their Facebook page, Ms Melancon said she heard '2 big popping sounds (it was her skull)' as the doctor used the forceps.

She claimed her baby was then left in the birth canal while the doctor stitched Ms Melancon up before she could have the emergency C-section.

'I felt her pulled out of me and the room was silent. No crying baby and they told Allen to leave the room. That's the last I remember before waking up to my baby girl lifeless,' she said in a heartbreaking post.

The parents kept a vigil at Olivia's bedside for five days before she was taken off life support.

Her heart valve and tissue behind her legs and knees were donated to save another baby's life.

Devastating: Baby Olivia was kept on life support for five days before she finally died

Devastating: Baby Olivia was kept on life support for five days before she finally died

Letting go: Olivia's parents, who kept a vigil at her bedside, donated her heart valve to save another baby

Letting go: Olivia's parents, who kept a vigil at her bedside, donated her heart valve to save another baby

Hospital chief executive Matt Roberts released a statement saying that Olivia's death 'rips at our hearts'.

The statement added that the hospital could not comment on specific cases but confirmed that a review would be carried out.

As well as a Facebook page to detail their experiences and raise awareness, the couple have set up a Go Fund Me page to try to pass Olivia's Law to ban the use of forceps.

Skull fractures are a risk during forceps births. The Mayo Clinic advises: 'Keep in mind that whenever a forceps delivery is recommended, a C-section is typically also an option.'

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