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Sirens & Gavels

Dad in court over deaf girl’s treatment

A deaf Washington man faces a contempt charge in Kootenai County 1st District Court for refusing to force his deaf daughter to wear cochlear implants in a case that has attracted national attention.

Emma McLaughlin-Orton was born to Jennifer Orton Miller and Shaun McLaughlin in February 2002. The child had surgery to install a cochlear ear implant on the right side when she was 1 year old, and on the left side when she was 5, court documents show.

Although part of the device is implanted, users cannot hear without also wearing an external processor and transmitter.

The girl’s parents, who are not married, share custody; when Emma is with her father, she wants to “be deaf like daddy,” said Judy McLaughlin, Emma’s paternal grandmother.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.


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