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

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Kervens's treatment was fully funded on March 6, 2018.

Photo of Kervens post-operation

March 6, 2018

Kervens underwent cardiac surgery.

During surgery, the hole in Kervens’s heart was closed with a patch, and blood can no longer leak through it. He should be able to lead a normal life with no further symptoms from this condition.

He says, “I’m very happy that I made so many new friends during my time in the hospital.”

During surgery, the hole in Kervens's heart was closed with a patch, and blood can no longer leak through it. He should be able to lead a no...

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January 17, 2018

Kervens is a student from Haiti. He lives with his parents, two older sisters, and two older brothers in Jacmel, a city on the southern coast of Haiti. He is in the ninth grade.

Kervens has a cardiac condition called atrial septal defect. A hole exists between the two upper chambers of his heart. Blood leaks through this hole, making it more difficult for the heart to properly circulate blood through his body.

Kervens will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On January 25, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will insert a catheter into his heart and use a device to close the hole. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $12,000 to pay for surgery.

Kervens’s 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 Kervens’s family overseas.

He says, “I am looking forward to being able to play soccer after my surgery!”

Kervens is a student from Haiti. He lives with his parents, two older sisters, and two older brothers in Jacmel, a city on the southern coas...

Read more

Kervens's Timeline

  • January 17, 2018

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

  • January 17, 2018

    Kervens's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 24, 2018

    Kervens 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.

  • March 6, 2018

    Kervens's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 6, 2018

    Kervens's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Kervens's treatment
Subsidies fund $480 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 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.


Eudia is a farmer and a 45-year-old single mother of two children. Her youngest just completed primary school and will be joining college next year while her daughter is in senior year three. Eudia earns a living through growing and selling onions, tomatoes, and eggplants. The income she generates enables her to cater to her needs and those of her parents as they live together. Eudia enjoys singing in the church choir. For a year now, Eudia has been experiencing abnormal bleeding, persistent backaches, generalized body weakness. She tried seeking medical treatment at a different healthcare center where they treated her for urinary tract infection. The treatment was not a success so they referred her to our medical partner's care center Nyakibale Hospital. At Nyakibale, she was examined with a scan and tests and has been diagnosed with a large uterine fibroid. Treatment will aid in the prevention of complications like anemia and the fibroid turning into cancer. Eudia is in need of treatment but is not financially able to finance it so she is requesting financial assistance. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $219 to fund Eudia's surgery. On January 4th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Eudia will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Eudia shared: “I am the sole provider for my family. My family needs me. I hope I will be able to regain my health and continue to support my family.”

11% funded

$194to go

Benson is a twin two-year-old. His mom shared that Benson is a playful boy but a little shy and quiet compared to his twin brother who is more social and more talkative. Benson’s mother makes a living doing other people’s laundry while his father is a public transport driver commonly known as a “daladala” driver in Tanzania. Their income is not enough to provide for the family's needs and still cover Benson’s needed treatment cost. They are asking for help to support his medical care. Benson was diagnosed with bilateral genu varus. He and his brother were born healthy babies and their growth has been on track until they learned to walk. Benson’s mother started to notice that his legs were not straight as he started to crawl. He took a long time to learn to stand and walk compared to his twin. When he got on his feet and walked, his mother noticed that his legs were bowed outwards. Benson's mother had never taken him to any hospital for help or treatment, she thought he would eventually grow out of it but that has not been the case. His condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, his legs keep bowing outwards, making walking more difficult. One of Benson’s father’s friends advised his parents to seek treatment for him. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Benson. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 7th. Treatment will hopefully restore Benson's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Benson’s mother says, “I would love to see Benson walking normally like his brother but the treatment cost is too high for us.”

61% funded

$337to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.