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September 23, 2004

Ear op hope for Bahraini toddler

From: Gulf Daily News, Bahrain - Sep 23, 2004


HOPE is around the corner for a 13-month-old deaf Bahraini boy who could soon be able to hear.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Ali Abdulghani Saleh Al Asfoor is expected to undergo a cochlea implant early Saturday morning.

The toddler and his family travelled to Alexandria, Egypt, yesterday for the operation.

Short of money, his family launched an appeal early this summer to raise money for the operation.


A single donor stepped in with BD10,000 after the family's repeated appeals raised only BD5,200.

The family was planning to take Ali to the Saad Specialist Hospital in Al Khobar, but the doctor who was supposed to carry out the operation had returned to Egypt.

The Saudi hospital then arranged for the same doctor to do the operation, at Alexandria University College of Medicine, where he is working at the moment, said Ali's uncle Mohammed Al Asfoor.

"We have already bought the cochlea implant and paid for the operation," he said.

Ali will undergo medical check-ups today to prepare him for Saturday's operation.

"He will stay under supervision at the hospital for four days after the operation. Hopefully we will be able to return with him four days after that," said Mr Al Asfoor, who accompanied Ali and his parents.

Once back in Bahrain, Ali would be under supervision of Salmaniya Medical Complex doctors for a month, before the outer piece is fixed.

Mr Al Asfoor is happy that the family's misery would soon be over, after months of tears and sadness.

"The family had lost hope but the kindness of people saved us after officials closed their doors in our faces," he said.

"The family is thankful to all those who have supported us morally and financially and whatever we say, we can never express the gratitude and respect we have for them."

Ali was diagnosed at SMC as suffering from severe damage to his inner ears, which meant he would never be able to hear - even with a hearing aid.

The implant operation needed to be carried out quickly to improve his chances of learning to talk.

The family discovered Ali was deaf when he was six-months-old.

Ali's 30-year-old father is holding various jobs to feed the family but couldn't afford to pay for the operation.

Ali's mother is 26-year-old Khatoon and the couple also have a four-year-old daughter Mona.

Copyright © 2004, Gulf Daily News