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Shekina from Haiti raised $1,500 for a heart catheterization procedure.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Shekina's treatment was fully funded on December 31, 2015.
August 12, 2016

Shekina did not receive treatment as planned.

Although our original plan was to take Shekina to the Dominican Republic for a catheterization procedure to determine whether she could have heart surgery, during subsequent examinations her cardiologists have felt that a catheterization would almost certainly show her to be not operable - and, since catheterization procedures themselves have medical risks, it was decided that it would be better not to subject her to these risks given the likely outcome. We are continuing to provide her with regular check-ups and medications to strengthen her heart.

Although our original plan was to take Shekina to the Dominican Republic for a catheterization procedure to determine whether she could have...

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December 23, 2015

“Shekina has been very sick since she was born, and I want her to be healthy and happy,” says Shekina’s mother, “I pray for a good result from this test.” Her daughter Shekina, a three-year-old Haitian girl, needs a diagnostic heart catheterization procedure to determine her eligibility for heart surgery. Shekina’s mother has stopped working as a market vendor to take care of her.

“Shekina was born with a cardiac condition called complete atrioventricular septal defect, in which multiple holes exist between the upper and lower chambers of her heart,” explains our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). “Blood flows through these holes in her heart without first passing through the lungs to get oxygen, leaving her sickly and short of breath.”

Due to the severity of Shekina’s condition, a surgical solution may not be available. However, the only way to determine this is through imaging done with catheterization. “Since this is not possible in Haiti, arrangements are being made to bring her to Dominican Republic to perform this extremely important test in the hopes that she can have heart surgery later in the year,” shares HCA.

$1,500 covers the cost of the catheter procedure and travel arrangements such as visas and a place to stay. Following the catheterization test, Shekina’s family will know with certainty whether her condition is operable or not. HCA tells us that if operable, plans will then be made to move forward with her surgery as soon as possible.

"Shekina has been very sick since she was born, and I want her to be healthy and happy," says Shekina's mother, "I pray for a good result fr...

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Shekina's Timeline

  • December 23, 2015

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

  • December 30, 2015

    Shekina's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 12, 2016

    Shekina is no longer raising funds.

  • March 21, 2016

    Shekina was scheduled to receive treatment at Clinica Corominas in Haiti. 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 12, 2016

    Shekina's treatment did not happen. Read the update.

Funded by 16 donors

Funded by 16 donors

Diagnostic Heart Catheterization
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • 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 who undergo diagnostic catheterization are born with one of several types of congenital holes or defects in the heart.

​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. In some cases, the child may be eligible for surgery, but only after a cardiac catheterization to determine whether the pressures upon the lungs are still reversible. In this case, the child travels to the Dominican Republic to undergo this procedure. The child stay in the hospital overnight and is discharged the next day. Once the results are received, HCA can decide on next steps.

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

The cardiac catheterization itself is diagnostic in nature and does not cure the patient's heart condition. However, the patient cannot be accepted for surgery anywhere without first undergoing this procedure. It is thus a life-saving step in his or her treatment plan.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Diagnostic catheterization is a relatively low-risk procedure. However, risks include excessive bleeding at the incision site and accidental puncture of the cardiac tissue with the catheter probe.

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

The country of Haiti currently has no cardiac catheterization lab, which is why all of HCA's patients must travel to Dominican Republic for this service.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no alternatives to diagnostic catheterization for measuring pulmonary pressures and assessing surgical viability.

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.