7-month-old boy gets much-needed surgery to prevent hearing loss

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Wednesday, FOX13 introduced baby Nathan and his family.

He was scheduled to have surgery at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to save his hearing.

But because of a business dispute between Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the surgery was put on hold.

Good news: Following our report, things changed.

One day later, Nathan got his surgery.

Nathan’s parents said that their child had surgery Thursday.

They said because of FOX13′s report, their son got the care he desperately needed.

“I was on the phone with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Right as I was on the phone, the doctor walked in and said, ‘I don’t know who called the news, but it worked. We are doing the surgery,” said Melanie Hart, the mother.

A wave of relief washed over Melanie and Tyler Hart on Wednesday evening.

Their 7-month-old son was scheduled for cochlear implants surgery Thursday morning.

“I was still on edge until they called me and said the first incision had been made,” said Hart.

Last month, the Harts said their son contracted bacterial meningitis.

The infection caused him to lose his hearing in both ears.

Without the surgery this week, he could have had permanent hearing loss.

“I’ve heard several cases now. Children have had their surgeries canceled,” said Tyler Hart, the dad. Canceled because the hospital and insurance company failed to negotiate a new contract by the New Year’s Day deadline.

“We hope every family gets the care they need and deserve. This hospital says they take care of children. They need to live up to that,” said Hart.

The Harts aren’t the only family being denied care because of the dispute.

”We drove over to Le Bonheur and spoke with a neurologist there, and he did an assessment on her, and it was his conclusion she was suffering from absence seizures,” said Cole Bardwell, of Jackson, Tenn.

But to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor told Bardwell that his 11-year-old daughter would need additional testing. Testing the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance would normally pay for. But not right now.

“The doctor informed me that we are not the only ones this has happened to. They have had to turn away hundreds of patients,” said Bardwell.

Meanwhile, the two companies are pointing fingers at each other for the lack of an agreement.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said Le Bonheur charges more than any other children’s hospital in the state.

Methodist Le Bonheur said it wanted a three-month extension of the existing deal while a new contract was negotiated.

“I just hope they can come to some sort of agreement. It is the kids suffering right now. That is who we need to look out for,” said Bardwell.

Until then, Isabella cannot get the care she needs.

The two companies told FOX13 that they have continued negotiations and hope to reach an agreement.