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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.

Koem Hen

Koem Hen is a mother of five and a 62-year-old rice farmer who has three daughters, two sons, and many grandchildren. Because Koem Hen is older, she no longer works in the field. Nowadays, she helps her youngest daughter to take care of grandchildren and sell food out of their house. Her husband passed away from tetanus 20 years ago. In her free time, she likes to listen to the radio, especially the chanting and preaching of the monks, and watch Khmer dramas on TV. Ten years ago, Koem Hen developed a pterygium in her right eye, causing her eye to look unsightly, with itchiness and frequent tearing. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, working, and going anywhere outside. When Koem Hen learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three and a half hours with her daughter seeking treatment. Koem Hen needs a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The total cost of her procedure is $216. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care for two days. The procedure is scheduled for January 18th. Koem Hen shared, "I hope that after surgery, I will have good eyesight again. I want to take care of myself and my grandchildren, cook for my family, and help my daughter."

46% funded

46%funded
$100raised
$116to go
Ry

Ry is a 26-year-old construction worker from Cambodia. He has been married for three years and has a one-year-old son, and their family currently lives with his parents. His wife is a farmer. In Ry's free time, he likes watching TV, playing games on his phone, and caring for his son. Three months ago, Ry was in a construction accident that caused a severe laceration on his right neck and paralysis of his right shoulder and elbow. After the accident, his family took him to the hospital where he had nerve repair treatment and wound closure. Ry stayed there for one month, before returning home. Still not feeling well, he traveled to Watsi's Medical Partner Children's Surgical Center to receive treatment. Doctors diagnosed him with a brachial plexus injury on his right shoulder 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. Ry is unable to lift his arm and he cannot work. On January 12th, Ry will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. Surgeons plan to do a spinal accessory nerve to suprascapular nerve transfer, referred to as an Oberlin transfer. After recovery, he will be able to use his arm and shoulder normally again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Ry shared, "I hope that after surgery, my right shoulder and elbow will get back to their full function and I can work as I did before."

43% funded

43%funded
$300raised
$396to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Koem Hen

Koem Hen is a mother of five and a 62-year-old rice farmer who has three daughters, two sons, and many grandchildren. Because Koem Hen is older, she no longer works in the field. Nowadays, she helps her youngest daughter to take care of grandchildren and sell food out of their house. Her husband passed away from tetanus 20 years ago. In her free time, she likes to listen to the radio, especially the chanting and preaching of the monks, and watch Khmer dramas on TV. Ten years ago, Koem Hen developed a pterygium in her right eye, causing her eye to look unsightly, with itchiness and frequent tearing. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, working, and going anywhere outside. When Koem Hen learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three and a half hours with her daughter seeking treatment. Koem Hen needs a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The total cost of her procedure is $216. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care for two days. The procedure is scheduled for January 18th. Koem Hen shared, "I hope that after surgery, I will have good eyesight again. I want to take care of myself and my grandchildren, cook for my family, and help my daughter."

46% funded

46%funded
$100raised
$116to go