The tiny hand and forearm slipped out too early. Babies are not delivered shoulder first. Dr. Terri Marino, an obstetrician in the Boston area who specializes in high-risk deliveries, tucked it back inside the boy’s mother.
“He was trying to shake my hand and I was like, ‘I’m not having this — put your hand back in there,’ ” Marino would say later, after all 5 pounds, 1 ounce of the baby lay wailing under a heating lamp.
This is the story of how that baby, Bryce McDougall, tested the best efforts of more than a dozen medical staffers at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass., one day last summer.
Bryce’s birth also put to the test a new method of reducing cesarean sections that has been developed at Dr. Atul Gawande’s Ariadne Labs, a “joint center for health systems innovation” at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The story starts before Bryce’s birth, on the last day of August at about 9:30 in the morning.