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Coalition demands ‘life-changing’ cochlear implant surgery in Montreal

Click to play video 'Push for “life changing,” cochlear implant surgery in Montreal' Push for “life changing,” cochlear implant surgery in Montreal
A coalition of Montreal families, medical professionals and local Montreal mayors are calling for the establishment of cochlear-implant surgery in Montreal.

A cochlear implant surgery is “life-changing,” for people with severe or profound hearing loss but Quebec City’s Hôtel-Dieu hospital is the only centre that performs the procedure in the province.

A coalition of Montreal families, medical professionals and local Montreal mayors at a press conference on Monday, called for the establishment of cochlear-implant surgery in Montreal.

READ MORE: Health Sciences Centre program marks surgical milestone with 250th implant

They are urging the campaigning provincial parties to allow the necessary health service.

“There is no good reason why people can’t have this surgery in Montreal,” Dr. Nader Sadeghi, from McGill’s department of otolaryngology, said.

He says the city is ready to perform the operation, and both the CHUM and MUHC are fully equipped.

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Sadeghi said there are over eight to 10 surgeons who are trained to do this operation in Montreal already.

READ MORE: Sask. woman can hear again after being 1st in North America to undergo new surgery

Many Montreal families who suffer from hearing loss or are deaf have to travel multiple times to Quebec City for treatments.

Dominque Godin and Paul Geraghty say they had to do the three-hour trip several times for their son Oscar who has two cochlear implants.

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that restores hearing to individuals with severe or profound hearing loss.

It is implanted in the inner ear and connected to an unit worn outside of the ear.

Cochlear implant is not a hearing aid, Sadeghi said. He explains the device directly stimulates the nerves in the inner ear.

“It was a surprise,” Godin said, to find out that cochlear-implant surgery was not available in Montreal.

They say it was laborious and time-consuming and agreed with many parents who attended the press conference that said it was an unnecessary hardship.

“It won’t cost Quebecers a penny more, because we’re talking about transferring part of the budget. We’re not talking about doing more surgery,” cochlear-implant recipient and Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg said.

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He argues the Quebec government will save money on the cost of lodging low-income families from Montreal who travel to Quebec City for the surgery.

If funds from the Quebec Health Ministry budget were to be allocated, Sadeghi says surgeries in Montreal could start within a week.