Donate to our  to urgently help people in need
Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Success! Alex from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Alex
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Alex's treatment was fully funded on April 14, 2021.

Photo of Alex post-operation

June 3, 2021

Alex underwent his cardiac surgery.

During surgery, Alex’s faulty heart valve was removed and a mechanical replacement was implanted. Although Alex will require daily blood-thinning medications for the rest of his life, he is no longer in heart failure and can live a full and active life–a relief for him and his family.

Alex shared: “I am excited to go back to school and to be able to visit my friends and family!”

During surgery, Alex's faulty heart valve was removed and a mechanical replacement was implanted. Although Alex will require daily blood-thi...

Read more
March 22, 2021

Alex is a 20-year-old high school student from Haiti. He lives with his parents and younger brother in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. When he’s healthy, he enjoys dancing and playing drums in church. Before his most recent illness, he was in his final year of high school.

Alex has a cardiac condition called mitral regurgitation. When Alex was a child, he became infected with rheumatic fever which severely damaged one of his heart valves so that it could no longer pump blood through his body. Four years ago, surgeons in the Cayman Islands repaired Alex’s existing heart valve in order to avoid replacing it with an artificial valve. This repaired valve worked well for three years, but then began to have difficulty pumping blood as well. Doctors now need to implant an artificial valve to replace the valve that is no longer working well.

Alex will fly to the Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On April 7th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove Alex’s damaged valve and implant a mechanical replacement valve. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman Islands, is contributing $20,000 to pay for surgery.

Alex’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 Alex’s family overseas.

Alex shared, “I am looking forward to this surgery so that I can get back to attending school and going to church.”

Alex is a 20-year-old high school student from Haiti. He lives with his parents and younger brother in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Whe...

Read more

Alex's Timeline

  • March 22, 2021
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • March 24, 2021
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Alex's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • April 14, 2021
    FULLY FUNDED

    Alex's treatment was fully funded.

  • May 19, 2021
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Alex received 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 3, 2021
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Alex's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Alex'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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.