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"I heard a crackling noise": Parents of baby Olivia speak out ab - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

"I heard a crackling noise": Parents of baby Olivia speak out about delivery

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PORT ARTHUR -

The unbearable heartbreak a Bridge City couple is experiencing began just two weeks ago when their newborn baby was born with complications. Those complications took her life just days later.

Olivia Coats was born on December 28 at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas. She died New Years day at Memorial Hermann in Houston after her family says forceps used in delivery fractured her skull and severed her spine.

Olivia's life was cut short and her parents are hoping a tragedy that happened to their family never happens to another family. Now, they're fighting for a new law to pass called "Olivia's Law."

"We had plans. We definitely had plans. We wanted a little girl. We got a little girl," said Rachel Melancon, Olivia's mother.

When hearing the news of her pregnancy, close friends recommended Melancon visit OBGYN George Backardjiev, M.D., who practices at Southeast Texas Womens Health in Port Neches.

Melancon said her check-ups were routine and that she had no complications during pregnancy. She told 12News she felt comfortable with Backardjiev.

Then came time for delivery. On December 26, Melancon began having contractions. She said she was induced the next morning. It was then when everything took a turn for the worse.

She spent a long 18 hours in labor at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.

"Her temperature went up to 103 and the baby's heart rate went up to 207," said Allen Coats, Olivia's father.

With the baby in distress, the couple said Backardjiev began to perform the delivery through Melancon's birth canal.

Watching his first child being born, Coats said something wasn't right.

"He was pulling, like he had his foot on the bottom of the table, and he was pulling and twisting to get the baby to flip over because he said she was face up," Coats said, "I heard like a crackling noise that sounded like you step on a piece of clay pottery."

Coats says he was quickly rushed out of the delivery room by a team of nurses.

"I immediately came out and went to my dad and I was like 'Um, I think my baby is dead," he said.

Baby Olivia was born minutes later by emergency cesarean section. Melancon said she never heard her baby cry.

Olivia was then quickly rushed to Memorial Hermann in Houston by medical helicopter.

Coats, not sure what was going on, videoed Olivia being rushed away from his cell phone. He then made the trip to Houston.

It was there where he said he finally learned what happened to his baby.

"Her head was fractured in multiple places and later on the next day, they told us that her artery in the back of her neck, they couldn't say why or how it happened, but they know it was from a twisting motion," he said.

Melancon said, "She had a big patch of skin missing from right here and the forcep marks around it from the force."

For four days, the couple, along with the rest of the world, prayed for baby Olivia.

A Facebook page created tens of thousands of "likes" with condolences from different countries. ABC News posted Olivia's story front page of their website and San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted about the tragedy.

"We're on the inside. We're not on the outside and all these people sent messages and notifications. We were just flooded with phone calls and everything," said Melancon.

With the world watching, they then had to make the hardest decision of their lives. On January 1, Olivia was taken off life support and she died just two hours later.

She lived a very short life. Her family wants her story to be long-lasting by creating "Olivia's Law", a proposal to ban forceps in the delivery room

"It's kinda like an ancient art of medicine. It's so barbaric. You shouldn't be able to put a stainless steel tool, or any kind of tool, on a fragile baby's head," said Coats.

Understanding forceps also help in deliveries, this couple believes when it comes to forceps, the bad outweighs the good.

Allen and Rachel are meeting with Congressman Steve Stockman to begin their fight to ban the use of forceps in deliveries.

The family has not yet contacted an attorney. They tell 12News they are waiting for autopsy results before they decide on their future actions.

We spoke to Backardjiev's attorney, Mary K. Evans at Luccia & Evans LLP law firm in Houston. Evans told 12News that due to privacy laws, she's prohibited from disclosing any health information on Backardjiev's patients. She offered no further comment.

Matt Roberts, CEO of The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, issued this statement to 12News:

"With our long history of care for newborns, this isolated incident rips at our hearts and words are insufficient to express how much our sympathies go to this loving family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Coats and their loved ones.

Whenever there is an unexpected outcome in patient care, the hospital brings all involved caregivers together and reviews the circumstances in a comprehensive manner. While patient privacy and peer review restrictions prevent the hospital from commenting specifically, the hospital administration and independent medical staff immediately initiated a review of all aspects of this case. 

Our independent medical staff leadership shares in the hospital's commitment to take all necessary actions to understand why this happened."

In the meantime, Olivia's parents must pass the baby's bedroom every day.

The room is decorated pink. Her closet is full of newborn dresses. Hair bows drape the wall. A dollhouse stands near her door and her crib sits empty.

They say their future plans are now shattered dreams.

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