A SEVEN-MONTH-OLD baby will tomorrow become one of the youngest in the country to undergo a pioneering operation to improve her hearing.
The parents of Hartlepool baby Paige Evans, who was born profoundly deaf, were contacted this week to say tomorrow is the date she will have the revolutionary cochlear implant.
Paige, who battled back from killer brain bug meningitis when she was just two-weeks-old, is set to undergo the eight-hour operation at 8am at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.
Her parents Bethany Tait and Paul Evans, 28, are delighted by the news – but say they have “mixed feelings” about the surgery, which includes doctors delicately cutting behind Paige’s ear and drilling through her skull to insert the implant.
But they say they know it will work out for the best for Paige’s long-term future.
Bethany, 20, who lives in the West View area, said: “We are really scared now.
“We don’t know how she will be when she wakes up - but it’s for the best, it will be the best for her future.
“I’ve got mixed feelings – I’m over the moon that she’s getting it done, but also scared for the operation.”
Bethany, who appeared in the Mail last week saying doctors had given the go-ahead for the operation, added: “I never thought it would be so soon, I thought it would take months, but the doctors just said they can get us in on Saturday.”
Bethany and unemployed factory worker Paul will be anxiously waiting at the hospital with Bethany’s mum, Kay Sandiforth, while little Paige undergoes the intricate procedure.
The family will have to wait a month before the implant is switched on and for further hearing tests to find out whether the procedure has been successful.
Full-time mum Bethany has poignantly described how her biggest wish is for Paige, who wears tiny hearing aids to help stimulate the nerves in her hearing canal in preparation for surgery, to hear her parents tell her they love her.
Paige was born profoundly deaf on March 11 at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, after Bethany contracted group B streptococcus (group B strep), a bacteria which causes severe infections in newborns.
At just two-weeks-old, Bethany and Paul, who is originally from Thornley, were dealt a further blow when Paige was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with meningitis, linked to group B strep, but Paige battled through after a course of antibiotics.