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David Smith from Haiti raised $1,500 for a critical diagnostic procedure.

David Smith
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
David Smith's treatment was fully funded on December 31, 2015.

Photo of David Smith post-operation

August 20, 2016

David Smith received his critical diagnostic procedure.

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into David Smith’s heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely undergo cardiac surgery. The procedure itself was successful; however, because David Smith’s case is so complex the catheterization results now need to be reviewed in detail by a panel of experts to plan his course of treatment.

“David enjoyed making friends with all of the other children and seeing a new country,” his mother shared of their travels to the Dominican Republic, where David Smith received his procedure. “We are very hopeful he can have surgery soon.”

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into David Smith's heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely...

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December 23, 2015

David is three years old, and lives in Haiti with his mother and father. He is their first child, and he currently attends preschool. “He likes making drawings, especially Mickey Mouse,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA).

David was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which involves a hole between two chambers of the heart, as well as a muscular blockage of one of the valves.

“Blood flows through the hole in his heart without first passing through the lungs to get oxygen, leaving him sickly and short of breath,” says HCA. “Because of the severity of this condition, there is a chance it may not be repairable, but the only way to determine this is by inserting a catheter into the chambers of his heart. Since this is not possible in Haiti, arrangements are being made to bring him to Dominican Republic to perform this extremely important test in the hopes that he can have heart surgery later in the year.”

$1,500 will fund his transportation, travel, and diagnostic test fees. “Following the catheterization procedure, David’s family will know with certainty whether his condition is operable or not,” HCA continues. “If operable, plans will then be made to move forward with his surgery as soon as possible.”

“We are hoping that David can have surgery as soon as possible so that he can run and play like a normal boy,” his mother says.

David is three years old, and lives in Haiti with his mother and father. He is their first child, and he currently attends preschool. “He li...

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David Smith's Timeline

  • December 23, 2015

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

  • December 29, 2015

    David Smith's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 31, 2015

    David Smith's treatment was fully funded.

  • June 20, 2016

    David Smith received 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 20, 2016

    We received an update on David Smith. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 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.