A TEENAGER brought to Scotland for medical treatment is facing a brighter future after undergoing her third operation to provide her with ears.
Kade Romain (15) was on the operating table at Edinburgh’s Spire Hospital for eight hours when the procedure was carried out recently.
She came to Scotland in November 2009 with local couple Derek and Robina Addison to undergo an operation to fit a bone-anchored hearing aid, which will be carried out later this year.
Kade, who was living in an orphanage in Trinidad, was born without ears and was given the chance by ear specialist Ken Stewart - one of the world’s top surgeons in the field - to receive reconstructive surgery to create them.
The private treatment involved a series of operation to graft ears made from cartilage taken from Kade’s ribs. The Addisons are paying for the hearing aid themselves, which has been backed up by local fund-raising and donations, but the hospital has waived its £50,000 fee for the reconstructive surgery.
While one ear was constructed and grafted successfully last year, complications arose when an infection set in after the second operation in December and Kade had to repeat the process a second time earlier this month.
Mrs Addison said progress has so far been good and there are hopes this operation and graft will be as successful as the last one.
She said: “It’s progressing really nicely and the next stage will be in October when her ear is released. It’s flat to her head at the moment so the graft can take but after it’s released there will be another skin graft behind her ear.
“We were disappointed for her at Christmas as we thought her wish, to have two ears, was coming true. They had to take cartilage from both sides of her ribs again to make the new ear in an eight-hour operation.
“That was a bit of a setback but Kade takes it all in her stride. I’ve never met anyone like her as she just accepts things as they come.”
Mrs Addison that the operation to implant the bone assisted hearing aid will also be carried out in October.
Due to the complications which arose last year, the hearing aid is currently held in place with a band Kade wears around her head which has made an enormous difference to her.
Bone assisted hearing aids transmit sound from the mastoid bone behind the ear and are thought to improve hearing by as much as 50 per cent.
Mrs Addison said: “It has made such a difference to her speech too and that has had a knock-on effect to her social skills which are improving all the time. She’s so happy and relaxed and so different from the frightened wee girl we brought back with us.
“This team in Edinburgh are amazing, a band of angels. They are so good with her and it’s an amazing experience for us to see the kindness people have.”