Baby Hannah Loses Hearing Because of Post-Transplant Meds

October 27, 2009

Hannah Bhagwandeen, a patient we first told you about in June, now faces a new challenge. Hannah, who will turn 2 in December, has already undergone two liver transplants. In order for the transplanted liver to remain active and healthy, Hannah must take anti-rejection medications daily. Sadly, these medications have caused young Hannah to lose hearing in both ears.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Hannah suffered from biliary atresia, a very rare liver condition affecting one in 20,000 children. The Bhagwandeen family was forced to move to the U.S. on a medical visa because doctors in their native country did not have the capabilities to treat her condition. Doctors believe a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted electronic device, will allow Hannah to regain hearing in both ears. The Bhagwandeen family knows this surgery is necessary, but they do not have the funds to pay for it, nor do they have volunteers to help with a fundraising campaign.

The average cost for the entire procedure, including the post-operative aural rehabilitation process, exceeds $140,000. While some organizations offer services to assist with these expenses, Hannah is ineligible for assistance because she is not a U.S. citizen. Hannah’s family is also facing significant expenses related to her transplants. A liver transplant costs approximately $520,000. For the rest of her life, Hannah will need follow-up care and vital anti-rejection medications, which can cost $2,000 to $5,000 per month. As of June, the Bhagwandeens owed $1 million for physicians’ fees, hospital costs, medications, labs, follow-up care, her feeding pump and more.

To make a donation to NFT to help Hannah’s family with these soaring medical expenses, click here.

Do you live in the Baltimore area and want to help Hannah’s family? To become a volunteer, please call Lauren Wilmer at NFT at 1-800-489-3863.