It is too early to know what BD will charge, Mr. Cohen said, but each device should cost less than $50 to make. While the company expects to profit on all sales, it will charge poor countries less.
Dr. Merialdi said he endorsed a modest profit motive because he had seen other lifesaving ideas languish for lack of it. He cited magnesium sulfate injections, which can prevent fataleclampsia, and corticosteroids, which speed lung development in premature infants.
“But first, this problem needed someone like Jorge,” he said. “An obstetrician would have tried to improve the forceps or the vacuum extractor, but obstructed labor needed a mechanic. And 10 years ago, this would not have been possible. Without YouTube, he never would have seen the video.”