Log In

Reset Password

With a deaf child and struggling for care and answers

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Kim Trott’s daughter, Kenzie with a cochlear implant (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda lacks the right sort of healthcare for children with hearing loss and their parents are left to struggle to find doctors, hospitals and answers.

The island is short of specialists and surgeons who can diagnose and treat paediatric deafness and does not provide the sort of institutional support available in the United States and Britain.

“We really felt on our own,” said Kim Trott, the mother of two-year-old Kenzie.

Kenzie was found to suffer hearing loss through screening required for all newborns at Bermuda Hearing Service.

“Unfortunately, this is the only service we have been able to obtain from Bermuda,” Ms Trott said.

She added that these initial tests can be inaccurate.

“However, they do not have the capabilities here or technology to do anything further than initial screening,” she said.

From there, it was multiple trips to Boston, where it was confirmed that Kenzie is deaf.

Ms Trott noted the absence even of guidance for parents of children with hearing loss. The Child Development Programme only provided her with screening for development delays, which was no help for Kenzie.

“There is no directory that we know of for services that could assist other children and parents who may also have hearing loss on the island,” she noted.

She has reached out to paediatricians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, the Bermuda Islands Association of the Deaf and Bermuda Hearing Services.

The lack of an ear, nose and throat doctor on the island has been particularly frustrating for Ms Trott and others. She said the doctor who had been treating patients was injured in a bike accident and was no longer practising in Bermuda.

She said a doctor was brought out of retirement but he only practised one day a week and was often fully booked.

“There has been an outcry on the Facebook groups for an ENT here and it has now been two years without an ENT on the island.”

Ms Trott explained that her daughter needed to get grommets, little tubes placed in the ear drums to release fluid and prevent possible ear infections. An ENT specialist inserts the tubes, which last about six to nine months.

“It’s a very simple procedure, maybe one hour or so, but it does require surgery to inset the tubes,” said Ms Trott.

During the past year, the family have travelled to Boston about a dozen times to receive medical services for Kenzie.

In Boston, Kenzie also received cochlear implants, which allow for a degree of hearing. They have to be checked every three to six months and this can only be done overseas.

Ms Trott noted that there were no auditory verbal therapy professionals on the island but she was referred to one abroad by another mother, Kayleigh Masters.

“I understand hearing loss is not common here on the island,” she said.

“There are also many other children and adults experiencing more severe issues or health complications, which the island is just not capable of dealing with. There is a huge gap here in Bermuda in assisting children with special needs and I do not see that issue being rectified in the near future.”

Ms Trott is on a mission to help those needing assistant for their children but in less fortunate positions.

“We know of another family who are also trying to fundraise to get the assistance for their child with hearing loss as they do not have the means to travel to Boston and so we also want to try assist them,” she said.

“Here on the island, being disabled can be extremely isolating. We have no accommodations here for anyone who is not fully able,” said Ms Trott.

Last year, it was announced that the HMC Burnaby Urgent Care and Medical Imaging had appointed Mounzer Ghanem as an ENT specialist but the clinic does not have an ENT specialist.

Wesley Miller, Bermuda Hospitals Board’s chief of staff, is an ENT surgeon. He also runs a health practice that provides ENT services for children and adults, but only takes appointments on Saturdays.

Bermuda’s registered medical practitioner 2021 registry identifies Dr Miller as the only physician specialising in the otolaryngology, a medical discipline focused on ear, nose, and throat conditions.

According to Ricky Brathwaite, the chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council, Dr Miller is the only registered ENT specialist on the island. Dr Brathwaite said a foreign company would be assisting the island in this area.

“Northwell Health out of New York has committed to providing ENT services on island each month to help support the provision of services for ENT related disorders,” said Dr Brathwaite.

The Trott family have travelled abroad to seek assistance for Kenzie (Photograph supplied)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published February 13, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated February 13, 2024 at 7:48 am)

With a deaf child and struggling for care and answers

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon