Thursday, 02 September 2010
A three-year-old girl from Gippsland has become the recipient of the 2000th cochlear implant at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
Visiting the hospital today, Health Minister Daniel Andrews joined bionic ear pioneer Professor Graeme Clark and patients to celebrate the historic milestone by releasing 99 balloons each with a unique patient story.
“This milestone is testament to the dedicated staff and doctors at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s Cochlear Implant Clinic who have made a remarkable difference in the lives of children and adults with severe hearing loss,” Mr Andrews said.
Abby Paulet, the recipient of the 2000th cochlear implant, was first diagnosed with a hearing impairment at 21 months. Her first implant took place in February 2009, with her second bionic ear implanted just two weeks ago.
“Thanks to this wonderful team at the hospital and her life changing bionic ear, Abby, like many before her, can look forward to an even brighter future,” Mr Andrews said.
“The significant milestone coincides with the 25th anniversary of Cochlear Implant Clinic at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
“In 1985, the Eye and Ear was the first public hospital in the world to establish a cochlear implant clinic with a team of surgeons, audiologists and speech pathologists.”
About one in six Australians is affected by hearing loss and 65 to 75 children are born with a significant hearing loss in both ears each year in Victoria.
The clinic carries out about 230 implants each year ranging from six-month-old babies to 90-year-old war veterans.
The bionic ear was invented by Professor Graeme Clark who performed the first cochlear implant at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in 1978. Since then more than 150,000 people in over 120 countries have received a bionic ear.
Mr Andrews said the Brumby Labor Government had significantly increased funding to The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
“The hospital’s funding has increased by 81.9 per cent since the Victorian Labor Government came into office,” he said.
“The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s acute funding of $64.6 million is up by $4.4 million, or 7.3 per cent, on last year. This year’s funding is $29.117 million more on what The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital was given in 1999.”
The bottom line operating budgets exclude capital funding and non-recurrent expenditure.