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To hear again, 4-year-old Victor seeks N10m for cochlear implant

By CHIOMA OBINNA
He needs prompt medical attention. A victim of medical malpractice or medical mistake, that has become the bane of the Nigerian healthcare delivery system, four-year-old Victor Anyadiegwu’s future is on the line.

Just as his surename Anyadiegwu depicts – the “eye is terrifying or dreadful” his parents’ eyes have beheld what their mouths cannot explain.

They have sought better health for their  child only for him to end up damaging one of the most important sensory organs of the body – his organs of hearing – no thanks to an unexplained injection administered by a medical practitioner two years ago.

Today,  Victor who was born perfectly normal, is almost completely deaf. He also stutters.  Doctors at the BSA Hearing & Speech Centre, India say Victor needs urgent cochlear implant urgently to correct sthe anomaly, warning that further  delay may jeopardise his chances of gaining back full speech development too.

Victor requires a total of N10 million for this procedure. In a report signed by  Clinical Audiologist, Dr. S. O Afolabi various complicated hearing tests were conducted on Victor.

Afloabi who explained that the patient is suffering from severe to profound SNHL notes that although, he has already been using a hearing aid with poor outcomes, a recommendation of regular use of hearing aids, auditory training/speech therapy and cochlear implant, was inevitable.

Earlier in January 2011, a medical examination at the Nigerian Army Audiological Centre, Yaba, Lagos on directives of medical experts at the Lagos University Hospital LUTH, also corroborated the latest report. The report states that Victor suffered bilateral severe to profound SNHL without amplification, speech and language acquisition will not develop listening ability will be severely delayed.

The report signed by Dr. Irene Okeke- Igbokwe, Director Nigerian Army Audiological Centre, recommended amplification and essential to help the speech and hearing acquisition, speech evaluation/therapy, total communication and daily habitation and annual audiological re-evaluation to monitor patient’s hearing.

However, despite efforts by the parents to restore back his hearing, Victor is also on the verge losing his speech. He was said to be hearing normally and developing speech until at the age of three when he had convulsion, after which treatment hearing loss was suspected.

Victor’s mother, Blessing Anyadiegwu said it all started one evening when she  discovered Victor was convulsing. With the help of neighbours, he was revived, but she took him to the hospital to ensure prompt treatment.

Little did she know that  decision would  cause  permanent damage to his hearing.

At  the private hospital where  he was admitted,  she said treatment commenced, he was placed on drip and other injections. Thirty minutes after, the child began to cry uncontrollably. All efforts to pacify him proved abortive. Shortly, the mother discovered he son was no longer responding when she called him.

She reported to the doctor who assured her  the problem could be a mere reaction to the gentamacin injection  he was given. Victor was discharged but after five days he still did not hear. Blessing took him back to the hospital was told by the same doctor he would regain his hearing in another two weeks.

But  according to Blessing, two months passed and  nothing happened. The doctor later, suggested  the two ears be washed out and he was taken back home. But the problem persisted.

Narrating her ordeal during a visit to  Vanguard ‘s Corporate office in Lagos in company of Victor, Blessing remarked: “I have handed over everything to God. I have no power or money to pursue this case all I wanted is that Nigerians should please assist me to raise this money. No amount is too small.

“I am so desperate about restoring back my child’s hearing. One naira donation is acceptable. We have spent over N1 million trying to correct the problem. My husband’s capital is gone. His business is crumbling because of this problem. The hearing aid alone is almost N400, 000.”

“We started taking him around it was in the process we took him to BSA hearing and speech centre, where we were told to urgently perform a cochlear implant.

“What pained me most is that for past year, he has not been to school due to this problem. I don’t want to fight the doctor, all I needed is assistance from good-spirited Nigerians to correct the problem so that my child can hear and talk well again. Doctors have told us that any delay may affect his speech.”

She called on the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, his Anambra state counterpart, Peter Obi, corporate organisations and  well-meaning Nigerians, to save Victor  from becoming permanently deaf and dumb.”

If you are touched by Victor’s story, please call Blessing Anyadieegwu on 08034894913.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.