Charles is an 11-year-old student in Haiti living with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). This means Charles has a hole between the two chambers of his heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the heart’s valves. As a result, Charles’s heart cannot deliver enough oxygen to his body, making him sickly and weak. TOF carries a 35% mortality rate in the first year of life, and a 50% mortality rate in the first three years of life. It can also cause delayed growth and development later in life.
Charles lives with his parents, younger brother, cousins and their family. He is in fourth grade, but his illness caused him to stop school late last year. He likes math and science, and would like to be an engineer or architect when he grows up.
Charles needs surgical intervention to repair his heart. The goal is to repair the defects, including enlarging the blocked heart valve and patching the hole to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to his lungs.
Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, works to maintain a network of overseas referral hospitals in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere that are capable of accepting cases too complex to be attempted in-country. They organize not only the cost of the surgery, but also host family stay, airline fees, food, and travel insurance for the patient and parents for the duration of the medical care. Through Haiti Cardiac Alliance, $5,000 of the total cost has been subsidized by the Health City Cayman Islands, a medically advanced tertiary hospital located in Grand Cayman. Haiti Cardiac Alliance tells us that Charles’ family needs an additional $1,500 to cover the costs.
Following surgery, normal blood flow should be restored to Charles’s heart and he should not have any further cardiac symptoms. “I am excited to have this surgery so that I can go back to school and play with my friends again,” says Charles.