Sept 2017 KWTX Texas
Pierce Robinson, the grandson of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center CEO Glenn Robinson, who survived a rare form of life-threatening bacterial meningitis, lost his hearing in the process. Then received a cochlear implant that doctors doubted would make a difference; he smiled as an audiologist activated the implant. We were not expecting much, due to the fact that they turn it on a very low setting to start. However, once again, God had a different plan!” Pierce’s parents Melissa and Jacob Robinson posted on social media. It didn’t take Pierce long to hear sound. “As he smiled at us to show that he could hear, we were reminded that God is still writing this little guy's story!” the post said. Pierce’s audiologist confirmed the toddler could hear all ranges of sound and could hear his parents talking in the room for the first time in months.
Pierce lost his hearing in both ears after falling ill to a rare form of bacterial meningitis. He first showed signs of the illness when he woke up having seizures. Doctors at an urgent care clinic near Katy, where Pierce’s parents live, tested the toddler for flu and RSV and when the tests came back negative, they concluded the child was suffering from a virus and needed to rest. But when his condition didn’t improve, Pierce was rushed by ambulance to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where he was immediately put in the paediatric intensive care unit. Doctors put him into a medically-induced coma to stop the seizures, but weren't sure what would happen when they started to wake the toddler up or how extensive the brain damage would be. When Pierce was released from the hospital, he was able to walk with assistance from his parents, but wasn’t speaking and didn’t respond to any noises if the source of the sound was out of his sight. Pierce had an auditory brain stem response test that then confirmed the deafness.
Pierce’s family was originally told doctors were confident only of placing a partial implant in the boy’s right ear, because Pierce’s left ear had fully ossified by the time it was discovered he couldn’t hear, but when they went in for the surgery doctors were able to put in a full implant, although they had no indication if it would work. “We have a long road ahead with a ton of therapy as Pierce learns to listen and process things again, but today is a day that we will celebrate! Pierce’s family will move to Austin where Pierce can attend the Texas School for the Deaf, a decision that was made before the family knew the implant would be successful. They still plan to enrol Pierce in the school so he can learn sign language and work on his speech.