The NHS has launched an emergency caesarean simulator in order to help train doctors to carry out complex C-section births. The model is known by the nickname Desperate Debra. Desperate Debra as its name reflects the potential seriousness of such situations. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is the first to use the replica.
The model made from silicon and imitates advanced stage of labour where head of a baby gets stuck in the mother’s pelvis. To help achieve this, the manufacturers Adam, Rouilly visited a maternity ward to learn about a baby’s head and its soft areas, where the bones have yet to fuse known as the fontanelles.
Gabriel Ogwo from manufacturer Adam, Rouilly, explained making Desperate Debra was very technically challenging. They had to work closely with Guys’ and St Thomas’ and NHS Fife to ensure that they simulated lifelike movement and feel. Made of silicone and plastic, Desperate Debra consists of a pregnant abdomen, uterus and foetus, and it is possible to adjust the difficulty of delivery.
Andrew Shennan, Prof of obstetrics at Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, stated emergency caesareans at full dilation can be challenging and dangerous. This problem is usually encountered late at night, when doctors with experience of this situation may not be available. Using Desperate Debra to help train doctors in this scenario should reduce the likelihood of serious complications for the infant and mother.
You are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. You cannot get the baby out normally as the mother is exhausted so it is a scary and difficult situation. An emergency caesarean is the best thing to do. Desperate Debra is amazingly realistic, exactly what it feels like.
It teaches the paradox between brute force to get the baby out, and a gentle touch as to not cause any damage to the soft tissues. There are other teaching models a bit like it, but certainly nothing that mimics the difficulty of getting a head out during a caesarean, added Prof Shennan.
Trial groups from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust revealed that eighty percent of obstetric surgeons have experienced difficulties with the baby’s head during an emergency caesarean, while seventy percent have encountered cases where the mother or baby has died.