The pioneering doctor who was treated as a villian

Pioneering surgeon Bill Gibson received a sack full of mail condemning him for putting a cochlear implant into a child who was born deaf. This is an edited extract from a new biography.


Emeritus Professor Bill Gibson AO was one of only a handful of surgeons around the world implanting the Australian-designed bionic ear in 1984. After implanting the first adult in NSW and then another 19 more, Professor Gibson performed a world-first bionic ear operation on a paediatric recipient: four-year-old Holly McDonell in 1987. The same year he performed an implant operation on the youngest congenitally deaf child in the world to receive the bionic ear: five-year-old Pia Jeffrey.