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Success! Alexandra from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Alexandra
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Alexandra's treatment was fully funded on January 8, 2018.

Photo of Alexandra post-operation

October 9, 2017

Alexandra underwent prep for cardiac surgery.

During surgery, Alexandra’s damaged valve was removed, and an artificial valve was implanted in its place. Her heart is now better able to pump blood throughout her body, and she can be fully active without getting tired.

She says, “I am looking forward to being able to continue my studies without worrying about my heart.”

During surgery, Alexandra's damaged valve was removed, and an artificial valve was implanted in its place. Her heart is now better able to p...

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August 18, 2017

Alexandra is a 20-year-old young woman from Haiti. She lives with her mother and older sister in Port-au-Prince. Alexandra has finished high school and is looking forward to attending college after resolving her heart condition. She hopes to attain a degree in business.

About six years ago, Alexandra had rheumatic fever, which caused damage to her mitral valve, causing blood to back up into her heart and not properly circulate through her body.

On August 18, Alexandra will be flown to the Dominican Republic, where she will be treated at our medical partner’s care center, Hospital Pediatrico Robert Reid Cabral. Heart Care Dominican has contributed $8,000 towards Alexandra’s care. Her family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany her family overseas.

“I am excited to have my heart surgery so I can have the energy to go back to school!” says Alexandra.

Alexandra is a 20-year-old young woman from Haiti. She lives with her mother and older sister in Port-au-Prince. Alexandra has finished high...

Read more

Alexandra's Timeline

  • August 18, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

    Alexandra was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance, our medical partner in Haiti.

  • August 18, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Alexandra received treatment at Hospital Pediatrico Robert Reid Cabral. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • September 18, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Alexandra's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 09, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Alexandra's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • January 08, 2018
    FULLY FUNDED

    Alexandra's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 27 donors

Funded by 27 donors

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $2,080 for Alexandra's treatment
Subsidies fund $580 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$1,000
Medical Staff
$450
Medication
$360
Supplies
$0
Labs
$180
Other
$90
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

When a hole exists in the heart, a physician can hear a buzzing noise, or murmur, in the child's chest as blood passes through the hole at high velocity. The child's parents might notice that their son or daughter cannot keep up with other children in daily activities. In severe cases, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream can lead to dramatic symptoms, such as blue lips and tongue, clubbed fingers and toes, and heart failure. The patients treated by Haiti Cardiac Alliance tend to fall into two categories. They are either born with some type of hole or defect in the heart, or they develop valve disease as a result of an untreated strep throat infection (rheumatic fever). Patients with rheumatic valve disease experience swelling of the abdomen and extremities, as the heart tries to circulate blood through the body despite the valve's dysfunction.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Virtually all of the conditions treated at Haiti Cardiac Alliance will eventually lead to death without surgery, the majority of them within one to two years. In the meantime, patients experience heart failure as their hearts struggle to compensate for the presence of leaks or other defects. In most conditions, the heart becomes fatigued, limiting the child's ability to be active, go to school, and participate in daily life.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Families in Haiti often have complex cultural mechanisms for understanding cardiac illnesses and their causes, sometimes involving voudou or other religious belief systems. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Haitian families in our medical partner's program also engage with the medical explanations and treatment of these conditions. Parents are willing and cooperative participants in their child's treatment.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

The patient is first referred to our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), by a pediatrician or another medical practitioner who detects symptoms that might be cardiac in nature. HCA staff then perform an echocardiogram to diagnose the cardiac condition. If surgery is required, the child joins a triaged waitlist to be placed for surgery with partner hospitals. It can sometimes take 6-12 months to move through this waitlist. During this period, HCA provides periodic cardiac checkups, changing the patient's triage position as appropriate. The child and his/her guardian then travel to the hospital with an HCA social worker. Typically, the child spends 4-5 days in or near the hospital prior to surgery for testing and examinations. After surgery, he or she spends several more days as an inpatient prior to being discharged. When the child is strong enough to travel, usually after several more weeks, he/she returns home to Haiti. HCA provides regular cardiac checkups for at least five years postoperatively before the final discharge from their program.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature. These cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should notice a difference in energy level. Many patients also undergo a growth spurt and/or gain significant weight after a surgery.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

The risk of death during or shortly after an open-heart surgical procedure is about 3%. Other risks, though rare, include stroke and post-operative infection. In a small percentage of cases, the material used to patch the hole "blows," and a follow-up surgery is necessary to re-patch the defect.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Patients come to Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA) from the entirety of Haiti. This can involve three days of travel in buses, pickup trucks, or even on horseback. There is no cardiac surgery of any kind available in Haiti outside of the HCA treatment network.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are ready to travel. Patients may also seek care from traditional healers, who may use liquids and powders derived from local plants and roots.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Ayebare

Ayebare is a two-year-old boy and the youngest in their family of 10. He developed stomach pains on Wednesday last week, but later they normalized. He then developed bloody stool after a few days and this has persisted up to now. His father took him to the nearby private clinic in Katuna and spent one night there. His father was advised to take his son to a bigger hospital by the doctor and that’s how he came to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Rushoroza Hospital. After assessment and early treatment by the doctor, they now recommend that Ayebare have a curative laparotomy. Without this surgery, he may suffer gangrene of the bowel, Gastro-Intestinal Tract Perforation, peritonitis and severe sepsis, and at worst death. Ayebare’s parents are small-scale farmers who grow beans, potatoes, sorghum and bananas for home consumption. Their firstborn got married recently and hasn’t stabilized in her new family. The third born is 20 years old and in secondary school class 4 and the 10th born is 4 years old and in preschool. All others in between them are in school as well except the 5th born who dropped out of school. Ayebare’s parents own a three-room semi-permanent house for shelter and are in the process of constructing a permanent house to safely and comfortably accommodate all their children. They seek financial assistance as they have a lot on their shoulders to take care of, including school fees. Ayebare’s father says, “I pray for a successful surgery. Ayebare will go to school when the right time comes, God willing.”

17% funded

17%funded
$51raised
$246to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.