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Esther from Haiti raised $1,343 to fund transport for heart surgery.

  • $1,343 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Esther's treatment was fully funded on January 8, 2018.

Photo of Esther post-operation

October 9, 2017

Esther underwent transport for heart surgery.

On arriving at the hospital, Esther underwent much more detailed diagnostic tests and imaging than were available in Haiti, to better understand her heart’s anatomy and dynamics. Based on this testing, it was determined that Esther’s ventricle is currently too small to be successfully divided into two chambers, as the surgery for this condition would require. For now, her surgery has been deferred, but Haiti Cardiac Alliance will continue following her in the hopes of being able to repair her heart in the future.

We are sending funds to HCA to pay for Esther’s travel costs.

Her mother says, “We are disappointed that Esther cannot yet have surgery, but we have faith in God that she will one day be fully healed.”

On arriving at the hospital, Esther underwent much more detailed diagnostic tests and imaging than were available in Haiti, to better unders...

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August 9, 2017

Esther, a 12-month-old girl, was born with a cardiac condition called complete atrioventricular canal defect, in which a large hole exists between all four chambers of the heart, allowing blood to mix freely between them. This prevents her body from receiving enough oxygen, and leaves her sick and weak. This condition is especially common in children like Esther who have Down syndrome.

Esther lives in Port-au-Prince with her mother, father, and two older brothers. Her parents both sell products in a local market. Esther is a very curious and friendly child and enjoys spending time with her brothers.

Esther will fly to the Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On August 9, she will undergo cardiac surgery. Her family needs help to fund the cost of travel. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is requesting $1,343.

Her mother shares, “I would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping my daughter have this chance at surgery!”

Esther, a 12-month-old girl, was born with a cardiac condition called complete atrioventricular canal defect, in which a large hole exists b...

Read more

Esther's Timeline

  • August 9, 2017

    Esther was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

  • August 9, 2017

    Esther received treatment at Health City Cayman Islands in Cayman Islands. 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.

  • August 29, 2017

    Esther's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 9, 2017

    We received an update on Esther. Read the update.

  • January 8, 2018

    Esther's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 25 donors

Funded by 25 donors

Patient Air Transport
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,343 for Esther's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • 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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.