It began with a simple bet. Two co-workers playing a game over a meal, trying to replicate a trick they had seen on YouTube for retrieving a cork lost inside an empty wine bottle. But for Jorge Odón, an Argentine car mechanic and part-time inventor, it became an idea which could transform the moment of birth and save lives the world over.
The Odón Device, which aids in difficult deliveries by extracting a baby from the birth canal using an inflated plastic bag, has just been licensed for production by a US medical technology company, and has been hailed by the World Health Organisation as one of the most promising developments the field of delivery has seen for some time.
"This is very exciting," Dr. Mario Merialdi, the WHO’s chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health, told the New York Times. “This critical moment of life is one in which there’s been very little advancement for years.”
Until now, the only method available for extracting a baby during an obstructed delivery has been forceps or suction pads on the child's head - but these have the potential for causing harm if used incorrectly. Mr Odón has personal experience - an aunt suffered permanent nerve damage during such a delivery.
The 59-year-old father of five, told how after the bet seven years ago, he went to bed and during the course of the night, made the mental connection as to how the technique could be applied to a baby. In the early hours of the morning, he woke his wife to tell her of his idea. She "said I was crazy and went back to sleep", he told the newspaper.