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Times Of India
19 June 2012

Mumbai: Chirpy and playful two–year–old Vidya gave away little about her hard life as she waited to be discharged from Parel’s KEM Hospital, to make a new beginning in the city of dreams.

About nine months back, when the orphaned girl was all set to get a new family, her hearing impairment came to light during mandatory preadoption tests. The family stalled the adoption and refused to take home a differently–abled child. After being abandoned twice, the orphanage in Jalgaon, her house since birth, lost all hope of finding Vidya a home. But hope arrived within a few weeks when a Mumbai couple, who were in the middle of their paperwork to adopt a girl child, learnt about Vidya. They showed their willingness to take care of Vidya’s treatment and eventual rehabilitation into the mainstream. The couple got social worker Amit Thanvi, associated with an NGO, Tarang Life Care Foundation, to take charge of her treatment.

After speech therapy sessions at Jalgaon, Vidya came to Mumbai to get her condition diagnosed at KEM Hospital. She was diagnosed with complete loss of hearing, and worse, a condition that could be treated only by an expensive implant surgery costing over Rs 5 lakh. But, funds started pouring in for Vidya.

Thanvi said he made appeals though the foundation, and social networking sites and managed to gather about Rs 5.48 lakh between December last year and April this year. The couple too was quietly filling up scores of forms and finishing paperwork to be able to provide Vidya foster care legally after the surgery. The approval came in May.

Associate professor at the ENT department Dr Hetal Marfatia Patel, who along with associate professor Neelam Sathe and resident doctors aided Vidya’s treatment, said, "She needs extensive speech therapy now and full–time attention that only a family can provide," she said.

On Monday, Vidya went home to her foster parents, who have appointed a qualified teacher to look after her during her treatment and stay in the city. The family did not wish to be identified. Dean Dr Sanjay Oak said such surgeries should be encouraged. "It is noble that people are coming forward to help," he said.

SOUNDS OF A NEW BEGINNING
APR 2010 | Vidya is sent to the orphanage in Jalgaon a few days after birth
SEPT 2011 | A couple backs out of adoption on learning she is hearing impaired
DEC 2011 | Vidya comes to KEM where she is diagnosed with complete loss of hearing
MAY 2012 | A Mumbai couple complete the procedure for foster care and final go-ahead for the surgery is given
JUNE 15, 2012 | Vidya undergoes the two-hour long cochlear implant surgery at KEM Hospital, is discharged three days later

Vidya’s condition
Vidya had complete hearing loss in both ears She could start talking after a year, but may have to continue the therapy for long Vidya can now be given up for adoption Doctors at KEM Hospital and Tarang Foundation are ready to take care of her medical expenses if anyone comes forward to adopt her

What is cochlear implant? An implant put in surgically to provide a sense of sound
Even basic implants cost over Rs 5 lakh
KEM and Nair Hospitals have been performing the implant surgery, Sion has started it very recently
Children need rigorous speech therapy and postoperative care


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