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

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Ruth's treatment was fully funded on January 5, 2016.
August 12, 2016

Ruth did not receive treatment as planned.

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

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December 23, 2015

Ruth lives in the mountains of Haiti with her mother, grandmother, and four siblings. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), tells us that eight-year-old Ruth “does not attend school, but likes helping her mother around the house, playing with her brothers and sisters, and singing.”

Ruth loses her breath and energy quickly, however, because she was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect. “A hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart,” HCA says. “Ruth also has down syndrome.”

Ruth’s heart condition makes it difficult for her body to circulate and process her blood efficiently. HCA explains that “because she has lived for so long with this condition, there is a chance it may no longer be repairable, but the only way to determine this is by inserting a catheter into the chambers of her heart. 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 soon.”

For $1500, Ruth will be taken to the Dominican Republic for the catheterization procedure that will determine whether she is a candidate for heart surgery. If she is operable, she will be prepared for surgery as soon as possible.

“We are very happy that there is hope for Ruth, and hope that she will be able to have surgery,” her mother says.

Ruth lives in the mountains of Haiti with her mother, grandmother, and four siblings. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), tel...

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Ruth's Timeline

  • December 23, 2015

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

  • January 1, 2016

    Ruth's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 12, 2016

    Ruth is no longer raising funds.

  • March 21, 2016

    Ruth 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

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

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.


Darensky is a 10-year-old student from Haiti. He lives with his mother and grandparents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He is in the third grade and likes building things and making crafts. Darensky has a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus and tracheal ring. Two holes exists between two major blood vessels near his heart; blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs, leaving him weak and oxygen-deprived. The treatment that Darensky needs is not available in Haiti, so he will fly to United States to undergo surgery. Many years ago he had one hole closed so this is the second surgery he needs, and his family has been waiting for this moment for a long time. Fortunately, on March 10th, Darensky will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the remaining hole that leaks blood between his two main blood vessels at the same time. During the surgery, he will also have a muscular blockage removed from his trachea that affects his ability to breathe. Another organization, Akron Children's Hospital, is contributing $12,000 to help pay for surgery. Darensky'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 Darensky's family overseas. HIs mother told us: "I am very happy to know that after this surgery my son will finally be able to run and play normally!"

74% funded

$388to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.