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Sandra from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund prep and transport for open-heart surgery.

Sandra
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Sandra's treatment was fully funded on July 12, 2020.
June 28, 2022

Sandra has had her surgery postponed.

Our medical partner has been providing ongoing care for Sandra and has just shared that unfortunately her surgery may not be able to move forward, so we wanted to send an update to you right away. Sandra was originally scheduled to travel for her cardiac surgery when the COVID pandemic began, but her cardiac condition was already advanced. Due to travel restrictions, she has not been able to fly from Haiti to where treatment is available and doctors are now concerned with her being able to safely undergo surgery. We are hopeful that her health will improve and she’ll be able to undergo care in the future, but for now we are closing her case and ask that you consider supporting another patient in need. Thank you for your kindness and understanding.

Our medical partner has been providing ongoing care for Sandra and has just shared that unfortunately her surgery may not be able to move fo...

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January 29, 2020

Sandra is an 11-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents in a city in northwest Haiti. She is in the fifth grade and especially likes reading and art. Sandra has a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect and pulmonary hypertension. A hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart; she also has blood flowing through her lungs at much higher pressures than normal.

Sandra will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On February 24th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which doctors will first perform a catheterization to make sure the high pressures in her lungs can be reversed. If the results of this procedure are positive, she will go on to have open-heart surgery in which doctors will close the hole in her heart with a patch.

Sandra’s family needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and check-up and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Sandra’s family overseas. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $17,000 to pay for her surgery.

Sandra shared, “I am looking forward to being able to walk to and from school without stopping to rest!”

Sandra is an 11-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents in a city in northwest Haiti. She is in the fifth grade and especial...

Read more

Sandra's Timeline

  • January 29, 2020
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • February 2, 2020
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Sandra's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • February 24, 2020
    TREATMENT SCHEDULED

    Sandra was scheduled to receive 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.

  • June 28, 2022
    FUNDING ENDED

    Sandra is no longer raising funds.

  • June 28, 2022
    TREATMENT UPDATE

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

Funded by 33 donors

Funded by 33 donors

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Sandra's treatment
Subsidies fund $480 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$0
Medical Staff
$450
Medication
$360
Supplies
$0
Travel
$900
Labs
$180
Other
$90
  • 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.

Minea

Minea is a sweet, nap-loving two-year-old boy. He is the first child in his family, and his parents work as rice farmers. They shared that Minea loves to play with toys and take a good nap, if not two, every day! Minea also loves to eat and cuddle with his parents. In December 2021, Minea and his mother were in a motorcycle accident that injured Minea's left shoulder. His parents took him to the local hospital for X-rays and care; however, his shoulder is still dislocated, meaning he cannot lift his arm or grasp objects with his hand. Minea has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. Minea's family brought him to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), in February to undergo physiotherapy for his injury. Since there has been no improvement after three months of physiotherapy, CSC's specialty surgeons determined that Minea needs to undergo a nerve transfer surgery to heal. CSC is the only center in the whole country where this treatment is available, and, on April 21st, Minea will undergo surgery. His doctors shared that, after recovery, his nerve graft should regenerate so he can use his arm again. CSC is requesting $709 to fund this procedure. Minea's parents hope their child will have a successful surgery and he will be able to fully use his hand as he grows up.

38% funded

38%funded
$270raised
$439to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.