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Media Advisory - Doctors, families, University Deans and Montreal Mayors call for life-changing cochlear implant surgery to be performed in Montreal


Media Advisory - Doctors, families, University Deans and Montreal Mayors call for life-changing cochlear implant surgery to be performed in Montreal

Canada NewsWire

Multiple and extended trips to Quebec City for assessment, surgery and medical device activation results in unnecessary hardship for deaf Montreal adults and children




Monday, Sept. 17


10:00 am


Montreal City Hall, Press Room (R.100)


Attending will be children and their parents who will share their stories, adults who will also share their stories, as well as, doctors in the field and politicians.

MONTREAL, Sept. 13, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - A coalition of patients, leading medical practitioners and local Mayors with the support of Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is calling on Quebec political parties to join them in asking for the establishment of cochlear-implant surgery in Montreal – in addition to the longstanding one at Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Quebec City.

The current situation results in unnecessary hardship both for adults and families of children who need cochlear implant surgery. In some cases, deaf Montrealers miss out on this life-changing surgery because they cannot afford to repeatedly take time off work to travel to Quebec City.

"As a mother of twins having had to go to Quebec for the surgery was difficult... not only for the interview and then the surgery when I had to leave my other daughter of just 12 months home.  Followed by the need to rent an apartment in Quebec City while my daughter underwent initial mapping sessions for a week.  I needed to coordinate with my mother who is from out of town to come and help.  This would have all been so much easier had everything been done in Montreal," explained Paola Le Brun.

Dr Cedric Yansouni, Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology Specialist at the MUHC relates his experience, "Cochlear implant surgeries were performed on our infant son, Emmanuel, in Quebec City in 2009 and 2010. The numerous trips to Quebec City from Montreal, from 1 to 15 days long, before and after both surgeries were challenges we were able to deal with. However, for some of my patients facing similar situations – but with less job flexibility, family support systems, or already struggling with precarity in their everyday lives – the financial, logistical, and family demands of juggling multiple stays in a distant city seem like a needless additional burden that many just cannot bear."

Vicky Tomljanovic's young son is losing all his hearing due to a genetic disorder and will soon need two cochlear implant surgeries. She explains why she hopes it will be possible to have it done in Montreal. "My son and I would have the added emotional stress of leaving the comfort and security of our home, the proximity of friends and family, in order to travel for consultations, appointments and surgeries, not to mention follow-up visits. As a working mother of three in today's society, the balance between work life, home life and extra-curricular activities is already laborious, not including the much-needed weekly interventions with speech therapists, audiologists and occupational therapist my hearing impaired son already partakes in. My children have already come to understand that fairness and equality are not synonymous. The addition of any further stressor to our lives seems unfathomable. "

"Children are not tiny adults.  Infants, in particular, require special consideration in their pre and post operative care.  This is the type of care best provided by a dedicated pediatric centre.  From blood testing, to specialized anesthesia, to family centred care, children have different needs than adults."  Dr. Hema Patel, Director, Pediatric Day Hospital Services, The Montreal Children's Hospital.

The coalition includes cochlear-implant recipient Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg. "It won't cost Quebecers a penny more, because we're talking about transferring part of the budget. We're not talking about doing more surgery," said Steinberg. "In fact, it will save money on the cost of lodging low-income families from Montreal who travel to Quebec City for the surgery and it will eliminate duplication of pre-assessments that are currently done in both cities".

Why do the surgery in both Montreal and Quebec City?

  • No extra cost and, in fact, some cost savings.
  • Trained surgeons, audiologists and support personnel are already in Montreal.
    "Both McGill University and UdeM have excellently trained cochlear implant surgeons. So we find it abnormal that the Government continues to deny this commonplace procedure be performed here in Montreal, " commented Dr. Saul Frenkiel.
  • Shorter wait times with more surgeons performing the operation.
    "Ontario has five University affiliated cochlear implant programs. It is shameful that Montreal, which possesses two excellent medical schools, is denied this basic privilege to serve the population of Western Quebec," argued Dr. Jamie Rappaport
  • Less hardships for deaf people needing the surgery and their families.
    Dr. Tamara
    Mijovic states "Despite the fact that the Health Ministry has repeatedly stated that the population is best treated where they live, Montrealers needing cochlear implants are still required to displace themselves to Quebec City for the surgery. "
    "It's not normal that some patients in Montreal refuse the cochlear implant surgery because they don't want to go through the stress of traveling to Quebec City. In this situation, they prefer to stay with a profound hearing loss," concluded Dr. Issam Saliba.
  • Montreal is the ONLY city in the developed world with medical schools that does not have this program and the ability to train new doctors in this standard surgery.
    "Throughout the western world we see one implant centre per million of population. It is unacceptable that politics in Quebec has denied these fragile patients and their families geographically accessible care. Politics has resulted in expensive care for these patients, wasted money and held back research and education in Quebec," added Dr. Anthony Zeitouni.

"I am surprised to read that this type of surgery is not offered in Montreal." "…rest assured that you can count on me as an ally. You can add my voice beside yours, asking the question as to why this surgery is only available in Quebec City." Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante in a letter to Hampstead Mayor, Bill Steinberg.

"The residents in Greater Montreal and vicinity should have the same easy access to this life-changing surgery as those who live in Quebec City." Montreal West Mayor and President of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, Beny Masella.

"As a cochlear implant recipient, I know what a dramatic change this surgery makes for a deaf person and for some not to get it or to suffer hardships when it would be so easy to set up a program in Montreal is cruel. There is no additional cost. The leaders of all political parties should promise to establish this program in Montreal immediately." Hampstead Mayor and President of the Cochlear Implant Recipients Association, Bill Steinberg.

For more information:


Partial list of supporters

Town of Hampstead resolution (equivalent ones passed by most municipalities on the island of Montreal)


SOURCE Cochlear Implant Recipients Association

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