Baby Fathima is able to hear now!
Updated: May 24
This is the story of Baby Fathima who first came to Shishu for a short stay. Her mother was HIV positive but fortunately Fathima had tested negative. The child was 8 months old when she first came. She was very active, and seemed very normal. In fact, she also went through a screening that’s done by PACT India to identify vulnerable children with special needs and found nothing wrong. However, four months after the child came to us, the caretakers noticed that Fathima was not responding to loud noises. We observed her for a few weeks and then took her to Manipal Hospital where a BERA Test was done. Fthima was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears. Her only chance for a normal life was a cochlear implant.
These surgeries are extremely expensive and also demand intensive aftercare. But after a second opinion from CMC Vellore that confirmed what had to be done, we decided to raise funds to help Fathima have the necessary intervention.
A sum of Rs 34.5 lakh was needed for the surgery which was achieved by reaching out to as many people as we could. The surgery was scheduled for December 15th 2021 and Dr. Sampath, Head of the Cochlear Transplant Unit at Manipal Hospital led the operation, which lasted 8 hours! We were relieved to hear from the doctor that the instruments had shown a positive transmission of acoustic vibrations to the inner ear.
Following the surgery, there was a four-week wait. On 12th January, 2022, the processors were applied by which the child could hear the sound of her surroundings for the first time. She responded surprisingly well. Every morning these instruments are applied to her head where they are held in place by a magnetic coin. They are removed when Fathima needs to sleep. She is able to adjust to the new device and tune in to external sounds.
With the guidance of the Institute for Speech and Hearing our staff work with Fathima to practise various sounds and mouth positions. It’s a long process but a necessary one to help her learn to speak.
Fathima will be adopted by a couple from the USA soon. And we wish her a healthy and bright future.