Surgery saves two-year-old from acute hearing loss in UAE

Surgery saves two-year-old from acute hearing loss in UAE

Luna was eight months old when her parents noticed that she was not responding to sounds or calls.

By Asma Ali Zain

Published: Tue 4 Dec 2018, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Dec 2018, 7:56 AM

Luna, a 25-month-old, faced life threatening complications after two surgeries for a cochlear implant went horribly wrong.
Luna was eight months old when her parents noticed that she was not responding to sounds or calls. She was then taken for hearing screening and underwent other examinations after which it was revealed that she suffered from profound deafness due to atrophy of the cochlea.
She was fitted with hearing aids for seven months which, her parents said, were of no benefit. But her parents thought that a life-changing decision to be taken for their child.
The costly cochlear implant technology was their only promising option but the financial burden was a hurdle. Luckily, financial aid was provided by one of the UAE's non-profit organisations to cover the surgery's expenses.
Luna thus had undergone a four-and-a-half-hour surgery and was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) till the next day. But the outcome of the surgery was devastating,
"The doctor did not inform us about all possible complications of the surgery, but all he mentioned was the risk of facial paralysis, and he said that the success rate was nearly 70 per cent," said Ahmed Al Ratta, Luna's father.
Luna was discharged from the ICU the next day but her condition worsened over days. She stayed in hospital for six weeks suffering from vomiting, continuous fluid leakage from the ear and intermittent fever.
She then ended up developing sub-acute meningitis, and was given different kinds of strong antibiotics for a very long time.
Her condition deteriorated and she contracted rotavirus to add to her parents' misery.
She was discharged in a critical condition with uncontrolled fever for one week and returned on the eighth day to be diagnosed with postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak (CSF), a complication that might occur after cochlear implantation.
"We felt emotionally paralysed, searching for answers and all what we wanted was to see our ever smiling healthy daughter," added Al Ratta.
Three weeks later, her ENT surgeon scheduled Luna for a second corrective surgery. The surgery lasted two and a half hours of failed attempts to stop the CSF leak. It was a second failure and Luna was seriously infected with pneumonia and adeno virus sepsis.
"The doctor then asked us to refer her to an experienced consultant in the field as he didn't have enough expertise to handle the case any further," Al Ratta said.
Luna's parents then visited Dr Jamal Kassouma, ENT and cochlear implant consultant surgeon, at Al Zahra Hospital in Dubai.
Dr Kassouma performed a one-hour surgery on her without touching or damaging the implantation. She was then discharged in better good condition.
"We only heaved a sigh of relief when Luna was safely discharged with no signs of leakage, fever or vomiting," said Luna's mother.
Dr Mohaymen Abdelghany, CEO of Al Zahra Hospital in Dubai, said: "We provided Luna with free additional medical care including the initial activation of the device where our specialised audiologist created a customised implant programme for her; in addition to six-month ongoing follow-ups."
Though the journey is not yet over, Luna's parents are quite optimistic about the future of their daughter.

More news from UAE