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January 19, 2018

Faulty cochlears implanted in Children Hospital


January 19, 2018

LAHORE: The management of Children’s Hospital has procured ‘substandard cochlear implants’ as these hearing instruments have started breaking down in the first few months of the implant in hearing-impaired patients.

The parents and family members of the patients have submitted their written complaints to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat and dean of the Children’s Hospital about collapse of the hearing device implanted in their child patients within a few months.

It is worth mentioning Punjab government had paid the cost of Rs 1.3 million for each cochlear implant on children of indigent families. The families of these child patients, suffering from congenital deafness, had to strive for many years until completion of the process of Chief Minister’s Secretariat’s sanctioning of the grant and then to wait for another couple of years for cochlear implants to restore their children’s faculty of hearing.

According to information, Qasim Ihsan from Gujranwala, whose daughter Shamsa Asim had got cochlear implant on 04.05.2017, and Shahzad Ahmad from Depalpur, Okara, whose brother Arbaz Riaz had got cochlear implant on 15.04.2017, had written letters to Medical Director Children’s Hospital and Punjab chief minister respectively and complained about cochlear implants going out of order within three to four months of the implants. “The doctors in the Audiology Ward also confirmed that cochlear implants had stopped functioning, which again left our children deaf and dumb,” they lamented.

They demanded initiating an inquiry into provision of ‘substandard cochlear implants’ and re-implant hearing devices on their children after procuring genuine hearing devices.When contacted, Qasim Ihsan and Shahzad Ahmad said ENT Department of Children’s Hospital had implanted hearing devices upon nearly 20 patients, who were also facing similar problems, whereas 50 to 60 patients were waiting for their turn to get the devices implanted. “Families of some of the child patients with cochlear implants have, however, raised minor complaints about defects in charger, wire, etc.,” they added.

General Secretary of Young Doctors’ Association, Children’s Hospital chapter, Dr Umer Shafique said that cochlear implant facility was not commonly available for treatment of hearing impairment, yet it was being offered to private patients and needy patients, whose treatment cost was borne by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. He said a single cochlear implant device incurred a cost of Rs 8 to 10 lakh to a private patient. However, when asked about Punjab government’s provision of Rs 1.3 million to the Children’s Hospital for each cochlear implant, he said it might have included the total cost of the treatment.

Marked by Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the management of Children’s Hospital constituted a three-member committee comprising Dr Imran Saeed (Convener), and two members Dr Shazia Maqbool and Dr Abid Ali Qureshi, which conducted inquiry into cochlear implant fiasco, and submitted recommendations to the dean, who is also holding additional charge of Medical Director of Children’s Hospital.

Dr Imran Saeed, ENT specialist, said the inquiry report with recommendations had been submitted to the management of the hospital.Talking to The News, Dean/acting Medical Director Prof Dr Masood Sadiq said that the matter of defective cochlear implants had been worked out as a result of a hospital-based inquiry. On the basis of recommendations of the inquiry committee, he said the company supplying these devices had accepted the responsibility and assured to compensate the loss. However, he expressed his inability to divulge further details of the inquiry report.

He also mentioned that the parents and the child patients do not care about the hearing devices as per their protocols, which caused damage and affected their functionality.When asked about the number of devices procured from the said company, he said that he was not aware of the details as these devices were purchased during the tenure of former medical director of the hospital.

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