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Success! 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.
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...

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Sandra's Timeline

  • January 29, 2020
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

    Sandra was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance, our medical partner in Haiti.

  • February 02, 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. 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.

  • July 12, 2020
    FULLY FUNDED

    Sandra's treatment was fully funded.

  • TODAY
    AWAITING UPDATE

    Awaiting Sandra's treatment update from Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

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.

Kyosimire

Kyosimire is a 40-year-old small-scale farmer who stays at her parents’ home despite being married. She completed sixth grade in primary school and receives limited support from her husband and father who have other families. Kyosimire got married in 2017. She shared that she delayed getting married because she needed to take good care of her mother. After her mother’s death, that’s when she decided to get married. She married a man who has another family with 6 children; she could therefore not get the care and support she hoped from her husband. She has had abdominal pains for the past five years and she thinks her problem of not conceiving could be connected to her abdominal pains. She feels severe pain along with bleeding and sometimes develops swollen legs plus a high heartbeat. She has only used pain medicine from clinics to relieve her pain but has never visited any hospital for medical attention. She has now come to Rushoroza Hospital to seek medical advice. At Rushoroza doctors have recommended she have a total abdominal hysterectomy. The surgery is expected to remove a leiomyoma; hence relieving her pain, the menorrhagia, bleeding, and averting additional complications. She is on her own and cannot afford the surgery charges despite being in severe pain. She shared that she experiences sleepless nights due to the pain and she seeks financial support for the surgery. She said, “I had lost hope. Given the opportunity with the surgery, I believe I can be able to work harder through farming to be able to sustain myself and my entire family.”

17% funded

17%funded
$41raised
$198to go
Tushabomwe

Tushabomwe is a 44 year old woman who lost her husband in 2009 when unfortunately they were attacked by gunmen in their house. Tushabomwe was shot in her thigh and she was pregnant with her third child, who luckily survived. Tushabomwe suspected the attack was planned by relatives and this forced her to move very far away to start a new life. She has not gotten married again. Tushabomwe works hard, selling dry produce such as beans in the nearby markets and was able to construct a three-room semi-permanent house for shelter. She later started small-scale farming as a way to generate food for her children. Her oldest is 15 years old and in secondary school class one, her second born in primary school class seven and her youngest is 10 years old and in primary school class four. She is proud to independently take care of her children, although it is a challenge. Tushabomwe developed a small swelling on her neck in 2019 and it kept on increasing in size as time went on. The swelling became prominent with severe pain. She went to a local health centre and was given tablets hoping that the swelling would reduce as well as the pain, but all this did not help. The swelling reduces and increases occasionally, currently, it is in its smallest size but after some time it increases in size and so does her pain. In its largest state, she has difficulty swallowing and speaking. She decided to come to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Rushoroza Hospital to seek medical advice and treatment. Doctors there told her that if not treated through a thyroidectomy, Tushabomwe may develop airway obstruction, thyrotoxicosis and further difficulty in swallowing. Tushabomwe says, “This condition hinders the smooth running of my business because of the pain. After surgery, I will be comfortable and I will take on my business activities and be able to take care of my family.”

61% funded

61%funded
$190raised
$117to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.