“I am unhappy that I have left ear pain and it is difficult to communicate with other people. Sometimes I can not go to school,” says Bairang, a 17-year-old boy from Cambodia who enjoys listening to music and using Facebook.
Bairang has had daily discharge in his left ear since he was six years old, due to an untreated ear infection. Despite seeking treatment at other hospitals in Cambodia, he continues to experience discharge, pain, and hearing loss in his left ear.
He and his family traveled three hours from their home in Kampot for surgery. When he arrived at Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC) in Phnom Penh, doctors discovered his condition was due to a cholesteatoma, an abnormal skin growth in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Without treatment, a cholesteatoma can continue to grow and cause permanent hearing loss, dizziness, facial muscle paralysis, as well as create infections that can spread to the brain and cause death.
“I am a little afraid to have surgery,” says Bairang, “but I need it. I hope that with surgery my ear discharge stops and I can have good health. I want to be a doctor one day to help people, and with good hearing I can do that.”
For $809, Bairang will have surgery to remove the cholesteatoma. With surgery, he will no longer experience discharge, pain, and hearing loss or be at risk for facial paralysis, infections, and death.