Amanda Hansord, Zavier’s mother, told HIF that her toddler had always enjoyed good health until he developed a high temperature in September and was diagnosed with a rare form of bacterial meningitis that left him profoundly deaf in both ears. But after a dual cochlear implant operation at a Perth private Hospital , Zavier is enjoying the world of sound again.
Specialist Ian Wallace had to race against time to perform his first emergency bilateral cochlear implant before there was more damage to Zavier’s ears that would have made it impossible to restore his hearing. The resilient toddler had taught himself to lip-read, but without the implant he would have gradually lost his speech and would have relied on sign language to communicate.
Amanda Hansord personally thanked HIF, telling us that she was "delighted - and very relieved" that the cost of Zavier's operation, which amounted to just over $60,000, was fully covered under her HIF health insurance policy.
Cochlear implants are beyond the reach of most uninsured people, and even when public funding from government or charities is available, only one implant is initially provided.
Graeme Gibson, Managing Director of HIF said, “We are so pleased that Zavier’s treatment was a success. Bacterial meningitis is rare but extremely dangerous and contagious. Meningococal disease is the most common form of this which is why HIF supports the Amanda Young Foundation.”
The Amanda Young Foundation is a non-profit charity organisation dedicated to reducing deaths in WA from meningococcal disease, and supporting survivors of the disease.
Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is transmitted by respiratory droplet infection. Meningococcal bacteria can live harmlessly in the throat and nose. Around 20% percent of people carry these bacteria at any given time without ever becoming ill. In fact, everyone will carry them at some stage.
The bacteria are spread by activities such as sneezing, coughing and intimate kissing.
The bacteria only live for a short time outside the body – and even if picked up, it doesn’t necessarily mean illness. The danger only occurs if a strain is picked up by someone who is not immunised , lacks natural immunity, or has an immune system that for some reason has become weakened and cannot cope.
Although vaccines are available, they don't protect against all strains of meningococcus. Therefore other precautions such as good hygiene practices are important.
To learn more about the symptoms of meningococcal disease, what action to take, the latest news about meningococcal disease and more, visit the Amanda Young Foundation website
To find out more about how HIF supports the Amanda Young Foundation and other charity initiatives, visit the Our Charities page.
Beautiful noises: Zavier and Amanda Hansord after his cochlear implants were switched on.
(Courtesy of Western Australian Newspapers)