Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Andy from Dominican Republic raised $1,343 to fund transport for cardiac treatment.

  • $1,343 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Andy's treatment was fully funded on January 8, 2018.
January 8, 2018

Andy underwent cardiac treatment.

During surgery, Andy’s damaged valve was replaced with an artificial valve. However, his heart was so weak from so many years of illness that it did not have the strength to recover its pumping function after surgery. Andy’s heart has been on external support since his surgery, and he is now close to having an opportunity for a heart transplant so that he can regain his health and lead a full life.

His mother says, “Andy and our family have never lost faith that he would regain his health. It has been a long journey but we pray that his transplant will be successful!”

During surgery, Andy's damaged valve was replaced with an artificial valve. However, his heart was so weak from so many years of illness tha...

Read more
August 25, 2017

Andy is a 12-year-old boy from Dominican Republic. He lives with his parents. His mother works as an office administrator, and his father works as a chef to support their family. Andy enjoys going to school and watching baseball on TV.

Andy was born with a series of complex congenital heart defects, including one where his heart valve does not open and close properly, causing blood to back up into his heart. Andy has had several heart surgeries throughout his life to repair each defect and is embarking on his final surgery to replace his mitral valve.

On August 31, Andy will be flown to our medical partner’s care center, Health City Cayman Islands. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is asking for $1,343 to cover the cost of Andy’s transportation from Dominican Republic to Cayman Islands where he will receive heart surgery. Although Andy is not from Haiti, Haiti Cardiac Alliance is collaborating with partners to make his surgery possible.

“I would like to share my entire family’s gratitude to everyone who is helping my son become healthy!” says Andy’s mother.

Andy is a 12-year-old boy from Dominican Republic. He lives with his parents. His mother works as an office administrator, and his father wo...

Read more

Andy's Timeline

  • August 25, 2017

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

  • August 31, 2017

    Andy received 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.

  • September 18, 2017

    Andy's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 08, 2018

    Andy's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 08, 2018

    We received an update on Andy. Read the update.

Funded by 16 donors

Funded by 16 donors

Patient Air Transport
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,343 for Andy's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • 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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.