A surgical team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has enabled a congenitally deaf three-year-old boy to hear, reported bhcourier.com. Auguste Majkowski underwent auditory brainstem implant (ABI) surgery six weeks ago—first in the U.S. to receive the device under a National Institutes of Health clinical trial grant with FDA approval. “It was magical,” said Sophie Gareau, Auguste’s mother. “He’s a tough kid.” Auguste and parents Sophie and Christophe journeyed from Montreal for the procedure, which was performed by surgeon Eric Wilkinson, M.D., neurosurgeon Marc Schwartz, M.D., and pediatric neurosurgeon Mark D. Krieger, M.D., Billy and Audrey Wilder chair, CHLA Division of Neurosurgery. Vittorio Colletti, M.D., of the University of Verona Hospital, Verona, Italy, attended the operation. He is a collaborator on the five-year clinical trial, having performed the most ABI surgeries overseas.
Auguste's operation, implant activation, and future behavior are key in the trial. Ten deaf children under age 5 will undergo brainstem surgery, and be studied for three years. "Hundreds of children in the U.S. can benefit from ABI surgery," said Krieger. "These children would otherwise never hear or develop verbal speech in their lives."