Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

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

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Wedeline's treatment was fully funded on April 9, 2017.

Photo of Wedeline post-operation

March 2, 2017

Wedeline underwent successful cardiac surgery.

During surgery, the hole in Wedeline’s heart was sewn shut by way of a small incision in her side. Blood now circulates normally through her lungs and body, and she should have no further symptoms from this condition.

She says, “I would like to say thank you to all of my new friends in the hospital, and to everyone who helped me have this surgery.”

During surgery, the hole in Wedeline's heart was sewn shut by way of a small incision in her side. Blood now circulates normally through her...

Read more
January 14, 2017

Wedeline is a ten-year-old fourth grader who lives with her parents and two brothers in Mirebalais, a small city in the mountains of central Haiti. She hopes to become a doctor when she grows up, and she likes playing with her friends and singing in church.

Wedeline was born with a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus, in which a hole in the heart that normally closes shortly after birth remains open. This is dangerous because blood leaks through this hole without passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her feeling weak.

Wedeline needs to undergo heart surgery to close the hole at our medical partner’s care center, St. Damien Hospital. First, Wedeline will undergo a full cardiac assessment on January 15. This assessment will include physical exams, labs, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is requesting $1,500 to fund these procedures. Funding for Wedeline also covers the cost of medications and social support for her and her family. Gift of Life International is contributing $3,500 to cover additional costs associated with Wedeline’s surgical care.

“Thank you to everyone who is making this surgery possible for our daughter!” says her father.

Wedeline is a ten-year-old fourth grader who lives with her parents and two brothers in Mirebalais, a small city in the mountains of central...

Read more

Wedeline's Timeline

  • January 14, 2017

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

  • January 14, 2017

    Wedeline received treatment at St. Damien Hospital 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.

  • January 20, 2017

    Wedeline's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 2, 2017

    Wedeline's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • April 9, 2017

    Wedeline's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 20 donors

Funded by 20 donors

Domestic Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $2,080 for Wedeline's treatment
Subsidies fund $580 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
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 staff decides whether the child can be treated in-country or needs to be flown elsewhere to access care. If the child can be treated in-country, he or she is scheduled for an upcoming surgical mission. In the meantime, HCA provides periodic cardiac checkups. 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. 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.