THE parents of a baby thought to be one of the youngest ever to undergo a pioneering operation to help her hear have now been told her sight could be deteriorating.
Bethany Tait and Paul Evans were delighted that daughter Paige’s cochlear implant operation was a success.
But their joy was tempered when they were told Paige has a brain abnormality and problems with her sight.
It is the latest blow after medics gave Bethany and Paul the devastating news that Paige also has cerebral palsy.
She was fitted with a cochlear implant in October when she was just seven months old.
A month later, the moment of truth came when the implant was switched on. Much to her parents’ delight, she could hear.
Bethany, 20, a full-time mum from the West View area of Hartlepool, said: “I couldn’t believe it, it actually worked.
“She blinked when I coughed and it was too loud for her.”
Bethany was delighted to be able to shop for musical toys as Christmas presents for Paige, who is now nine months old. But since the implant was switched on on November 12, Paige has been in and out of hospital for various tests and medics have discovered that she has problems with her sight and a brain abnormality.
Paige will have to return to hospital in the coming months for further tests to find out the extent of her problems.
Bethany said: “We haven’t really had time to celebrate the fact she can hear. It’s all been about the cerebral palsy and every time we go to hospital there is more and more bad news.”
She said doctors were trying to find out whether Paige’s conditions were linked to the meningitis she battled when she was just two weeks old.
It had been linked to Bethany contracting group-B streptococcus, a bacteria which causes severe infections in newborns.
Bethany said doctors were trying various medications on Paige to see which are the best for her and she was due to see a neuro-consultant at the RVI in three months.
Christmas had been “quite stressful” as Paige, who is being fed through a tube, had been screaming in pain but she added: “I hope she’s not going to be in pain for much longer and I hope they find a medication that works.”
Bethany and Paul, a 28-year-old unemployed factory worker, are now set to move into a specially adapted bungalow in Hartlepool that will be fitted with a sensory room for Paige, as she responds well to a similar light-based set-up when she attends Butterwick Hospice to give the couple respite.
They are now looking to set up a charity to raise money for adaptations to the bungalow, including the sensory room, and they want to hold a charity night and also raise funds to help other children suffering from similar conditions.
l Mail view: Page 8