Ryan gets his implant in Vermont;

Surgery a success

By: Peter Karahalios

A nine-year-old deaf Chomedey boy has had a cochlear implant successfully implanted into him in the United Stales, and is expected to do well.


Ryan Duchoeny attracted considerable media attention here in January when the province refused to pay for the procedure to be done in Quebec.


The young lad was profoundly deaf and needed a cochlear implant. But due to this province's less-than-inspiring state of healthcare finances, the Health board refused to pay for the surgery, contending that at his age, Ryan would be able to continue leading a normal life by communicating through sign language as an alternative.


His parents and others who were informed of the decision organized a fund drive intended to raise money with which Ryan would have the procedure done privately in the United States.


In two months, contributions amounted to US$26.000 enabling the boy's parents to pay for at least two thirds of the costs of the surgery, which came to a total of US$36,000.


The four-hour procedure was carried out at the Fletcher Allan Hospital in Burlington, Vermont, by Dr. Robert Sofferman, who deemed it a success and said that Ryan would be able to return to school one week after the operation.


Once the incision heals, Ryan will have no restrictions on physical activities. Dr. Sofferman said, adding that the only thing the boy can't do is have an MRI, (magnetic resonance imaging) "because it messes up me receiver implanted behind his ear."


In a month. Ryan and his parents will return to Vermont to have his new hearing device hooked to a miniature-computerized processor and activated. That will be the first lime he will hear sounds. Dr. Sofferman is convinced that Ryan will gain the ability to hear environmental sounds, and to learn to modulate his voice.