Local News                                     Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Deaf boy's ear surgery a success

A deaf Quebec boy who traveled to Vermont for an ear operation that he couldn't get at home came through his surgery well, his surgeon reported Monday evening.

Ryan's family brought him to Vermont after the Quebec health care agency refused to pay for implant surgery.

By: Nancy Remsen
Free Press Staff Writer

A deaf Quebec boy who traveled to Vermont for an ear operation that he couldn't get at home came through his surgery well, his surgeon reported Monday evening.


Ryan Duchoeny, 9, was expected to spend one night at Fletcher Allen Health Care before returning home to Chomedey today with his parents and grandparents to recuperate from his cochlear implant.


Ryan's family brought him to Vermont after the Quebec health care agency refused to pay for implant surgery. Such an operation couldn't be done at any hospital in Canada without the approval of the government-run health care agency. The Duchoeny’s turned to private fund-raising to pay for the $36,000 operation in Burlington.


The publicity surrounding the Quebec government's decision made Ryan a celebrity. Monday, five television crews from Quebec swooped into Burlington to document the boy's ear surgery.


At an evening news conference, Dr. Robert Sofferman, the surgeon, pronounced the three-hour procedure a success. He said Ryan would experience minor discomfort for one or two days. He would be able to return to school in about a week. "Children bounce back so quickly."


Once the incision heals, Ryan will have no restrictions on physical activities, Sofferman said. "The only thing he can't do is have an MRI," the doctor said. The diagnostic procedure called magnetic resonance imaging messes up the receiver implanted behind his ear.


In a month, Ryan and his parents will return to Vermont so his new hearing device can be hooked to a miniature computerized processor and activated. That will be the first time he will hear sounds.


"I'm sure he will gain the ability to hear environmental sounds," Sofferman said. He expected Ryan to learn to modulate his voice.


"A lot is very dependent on him, his family and his support back home," Sofferman said. "But when you see someone that stimulated and motivated to learn language, I think he is going to do very well."

 

To help

Ryan Duchoeny needs $36,000 to cover the cost of his cochlear implant surgery. He must also return to Vermont for programming sessions at $363 each.


--DONATIONS: Make checks payable to “Jewish Community Foundation

Re: Ryan Duchoeny.

--ADDRESS: Mail to

1114 Mill Hill Place,

Laval, Quebec,

H7W 1R1, Canada.

 

Implant film (Burlington, Vermont)

--WHAT: This year's Focus on Films Festival in Montpelier includes two showings of the film, "Sound and Fury," the story of two brothers who make different decisions about cochlear implants for their deaf children. Many in the deaf community oppose cochlear implants, seeing them as a form of child abuse and a rejection of the deaf culture, which is built around sign language. Those in the hearing community see the implants as a gift of sound and life opportunities for profoundly deaf children.
--WHEN:
Noon, March 25; 8:15 p.m., March 28.
--WHERE:
Savoy Theater, 26 Main St., Montpelier.

--DISCUSSION: The audience is invited to stay for a discussion of the film after each showing.