Dr. Choo and Cincinnati Children's Hospital are currently conducting a research study on children, cochlear implants and the development of speech and listening post implants. Dr. Choo would like to have Drew participate in this research study because Drew's hearing loss is genetic, meaning that he has no known medical issues besides his hearing loss.
In order to participate in the study, Dr. Choo's team would like to run an MRI on Drew when he is nine months old. The issue is that we can not move for insurance approval of the cochlear implant surgery without completing the MRI. If we were not part of the study, we could have the MRI done when Drew is six months old and move toward insurance approval. Insurance approval for the surgery can take a month or longer and Dr. Choo's office will not schedule the surgery until it is approved by insurance. This can add an additional two months because he is generally booked one to two months in advance. This means that after the MRI, it could be three months or longer before the surgery will take place and another two weeks or longer until Drew's hearing will be turned on for the first time.
We feel very strongly about participating in the research project. There have been many families willing to participate in research studies in the past for the cochlear implant technology to be where it is today. But, we are not willing to do so at the expense of getting Drew's hearing turned on as quickly as possible. Therefore, we have asked to have Drew's surgery scheduled in advance of the MRI and insurance approval. This way, we will be on Dr. Choo's schedule, can participate in the research study, and are assured that his office will gain insurance approval in time for the surgery.
We have asked for the surgery to be in late July, when Drew will be ten months old. This way, we can have him "turned on" when he is eleven months old, and hopefully have his mapping well established by the time he is one year old, when language really starts to be established. We should hear back from Dr. Choo's office this coming week in regard to our request. If we are not allowed to go ahead and schedule the surgery, Drew's Dad and I have agreed that we are not going to participate in the research project, so we can move forward with getting the insurance approval we need to have Drew implanted.