Kandivali’s civic-run peripheral Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital (aka Shatabdi Hospital), has conducted a cochlear implant, the first among all 16 peripheral hospitals in the city. The implant costs nearly Rs 8 lakh, but was carried out for free, with the recipient being a four-year-old boy, Vedant Gange, who was deaf since birth. So far, such surgeries have been performed only in major state/civic-run hospitals, like KEM and JJ hospitals.
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device surgically implanted in the inner ear that can help improve the hearing of children with severe, irreversible hearing loss. It can allow them to hear and understand better than was possible with a hearing aid.
As per hospital officials, Vedant was admitted to the ENT department on July 7 and was operated by Padmashri Dr Milind V Kirtane, along with Dr Narendra Sharma, Dr Sangam Pal, and Dr Mrinmayi, in the presence of the ENT Honorary team – Dr Dhond and Dr Lalit Seth. The surgery was telecast live for 30 aspiring doctors.
Vedant’s father, Sandeep Gange, is a fruit vendor and could not afford the expenses of the surgery. The necessary funds were mobilised through donors like Dr Dhond, Noble Foundation, Dr Bharat Jobanputra and Combat Aids.
Dr Rajesh Yadav said, “We want to expand the cochlear implant facility at the hospital and reach out to the candidates in need. Inter-professional teams involved in our programme, like ENT surgeons, speech and language therapists, and counsellors will integrate different professional perspectives and backgrounds to provide high-quality comprehensive care.” He said that for a child from a poor background, this could mean an opportunity to develop listening and speech skills and to attend school with hearing peers.
Sandeep Gange said they were unaware that their son was deaf since birth. On figuring it out, they consulted doctors in Sambhajinagar and then came to know about the problem. He said a relative advised them to come to Mumbai for treatment. “We are thankful to the hospital and doctors because of whom my son will now be able to hear. Moreover, I am thankful to donors who have helped me raise the funds for the surgery,” he said.