Our community has experienced unprecedented challenges this year and while the world pressed pause, AdventHealth’s front-line teams pressed on to continue caring for patients. During this time, it is more important now than ever that we stop to recognize the awe-inspiring moments that we are honored to witness.
In honor of Better Hearing & Speech Month, we are celebrating one of our tiniest patients who recently received the gift of hearing for the first time. Erick is eight months old and has spent his entire life, over 235 days in the NICU. He was born with a rare genetic condition that caused profound hearing loss. Erick needs to have cochlear implant surgery and for insurance to cover the procedure, he first needs to be fitted for hearing aids.
Melanie Bergeron, a clinical social worker at AdventHealth for Children worked with Erick’s parents to get him hearing aids. It was a struggle financially because their insurance wouldn’t pay for them while Erick was an inpatient in the hospital. Erick’s nurse, Gina says getting him hearing aids is even more important now that COVID-19 has forced staff to wear face masks,
“Erick has the biggest personality. It’s been hard for him to adjust to us wearing face masks. He can’t see our facial expressions anymore and I worry that it will hurt him developmentally. The hearing aids will help him interact more with us.”
Thankfully, generous donors from AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida were able to pay for Erick’s hearing aids through a patient assistance fund. So last Monday, an audiologist met with Erick and helped fit hearing aids so he could hear for the first time. It was an emotional day for Erick’s parents and our staff who have grown so close to the family.
Gina says she has seen a big difference in Erick since he received the hearing aids—he is much more responsive when interacting with people. His nurse, Gina, became emotional thinking about her last day with Erick since he will be transferred to a Children’s outpatient facility. She shared, “He can’t move, he is on a feeding tube and ventilator. But his eyes will now look up when I speak to him. Another nurse told me he kept looking towards the beeping sounds of the machines. He is just the sweetest baby; I love taking care of him.”
Erick’s mom, Ruby, hopes that he can come home before his first birthday. Ruby expressed her gratitude and mentioned, “I just want to thank them so much for helping my son with the hearing aids and helping our family. I want to have him home before his birthday, I want to make him a birthday party.”
AdventHealth wishes Erick the best as he adjusts to a new world with sound. If you’d like to learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child, click here.