A Jefferson County jury awarded Baby Olivia's mother, Rachel Melancon, more than $10 million in her civil lawsuit against Dr. George Backardjiev and the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.
The jury agreed that Dr. Backardjiev was negligent in his use of forceps during Olivia’s birth in 2013. Olivia suffered skull fractures and died 5 days later.
We took a closer look at the use of forceps in delivery.
Dr. Brent Bost with Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates said the death of Baby Olivia Coats is a tragedy.
Dr. Bost said forceps can be used properly at times. He used them roughly once a year mainly when a mother cannot push at childbirth.
“If you're there and ready to go vaginally and you have a good anesthetic, epidural going and you're having fetal distress, it is quicker to put forceps on and get the baby out vaginally than it would be to stop, move the patient to another room, get an anesthesiologist on call and working on the mom to get her to sleep and be able to cut through all the layers to get the baby out," said Dr. Bost.
Dr. Bost said a key to using the tools is making the proper judgement call that they are large enough for the baby's head and that they align and lock.
“Where there's a lot of doubt about success of vaginal delivery and use of forceps, most obstetricians and most patients would prefer to do a C-section,” said Dr. Bost. “That way you can get out of the risk of damaging the mom or baby or both."
In depositions in Olivia's trial, we learned forceps were used three times unsuccessfully before the child was delivered by C-section.
Little Olivia suffered skull fractures, spinal injuries and her cause of death, not enough oxygen to the brain.
Dr. Bost said if a patient expresses discomfort about forceps being used, he will just do a C-section.
As for Dr. George Backardjiev, he does not practice at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas and closed his Port Neches practice about two months ago, but his Texas medical license is active.
Olivia's grandmother filed paperwork with the state to get it revoked.