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Success! Charles from Haiti raised $1,500 for open heart surgery.

Charles
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Charles's treatment was fully funded on March 4, 2016.

Photo of Charles post-operation

June 24, 2016

Charles underwent successful heart surgery.

During surgery, the defects in Charles’ heart were repaired and normal blood flow was restored to his heart. He should be able to live a normal life with no further cardiac symptoms.

“I am excited to go back to Haiti and learn how to play soccer,” Charles shared.

During surgery, the defects in Charles' heart were repaired and normal blood flow was restored to his heart. He should be able to live a nor...

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February 15, 2016

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.

Charles is an 11-year-old student in Haiti living with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). This means Charles has...

Read more

Charles's Timeline

  • February 15, 2016
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • February 15, 2016
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Charles 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.

  • March 01, 2016
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Charles's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 04, 2016
    FULLY FUNDED

    Charles's treatment was fully funded.

  • June 24, 2016
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Charles's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 36 donors

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • 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.

Babikyengyire

Babikyengyire is the mother of one child who is 7 years old and in first grade at primary school. Her husband died in an accident in 2012. She later managed to buy a piece of land and constructed a three-room semi-permanent house for shelter. A long time ago, in 1989, she thought she was gaining weight with an expanded neck because it was painless. She got married in 2009 and when she got pregnant in 2012, she developed neck pains especially after walking long distances. After delivery, the swelling increased as well as her pain. She is a member of the church choir, but she could no longer sing because it was too painful. Currently, she feels much pain when she wears a mask due to the ongoing COVID-19 regulations in the country. She is hopeful to find a solution from Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Rushoroza Hospital. At Rushoroza, she presented with long-standing history of bi-nodular neck swelling. Thyrotoxicosis, airway obstruction, difficulty in breathing could be the end result if not treated through a thyroidectomy. Babikyengyire is a businesswoman who carries clothes around town to her customers, though she shared that she is finding it challenging now due to her condition. She feels uncomfortable being in public because of her neck swelling. She seeks financial support for her surgery because her small business can hardly raise a fraction of the total surgery charges. Babikyengyire shared, “I hope for a successful surgery. After the surgery, I believe that I will be able to travel long distances that will help me reach out to more customers and improve my business.”

54% funded

54%funded
$167raised
$140to go
Thaung

Thaung is a 57-year-old man who lives with his relatives in a village in Burma. He has two daughters and two sons from his previous marriage. He works as an agricultural day laborer earning around 17,500 kyat (approx 17.50 USD) in a month. This income is not enough to cover his daily needs nor pay for basic health care. One of his daughters, who works as a day laborer in the market, supports him partially. However, she is not able to give him a lot of money as she needs to support her own family as well. In June 2020, Thaung was working in the field. While working, his sandal slipped off and he stepped on a stick which cut the sole of his right foot. He treated the cut with traditional medicine but over time his right foot became swollen and painful. He also developed a fever and chills. He then went to a nearby clinic for treatment but he did not feel better. His friends then suggested that he seek treatment at Mawlamyine Christine Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). When Thaung arrived at MCLH, the doctor assessed his right foot and saw that the wound had now become infected and swollen. The wound also emitted a foul smell. The doctor diagnosed him with an ulcer as well as diabetes, and said he needed to receive surgery. When his daughter agreed to borrow money to pay for it, Thaung underwent a wound debridement surgery. Following the operation, he had the dressing on his wound changed daily. However, later on the doctor told him that he hand to undergo surgery for a second time. When Thaung told the doctor neither he nor his daughter could afford to pay for his second surgery, the doctor referred him to MCLH's partner organization, Burma Children Medical Fund, for assistance accessing the surgery. Currently the ulcer on Thaung's right sole is not healing well. He is also worried about borrowing any more money because he cannot earn enough to pay back a loan. Fortunately our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, can help. Now, they are asking for your help to fund Thuang's $694 medical treatment.

61% funded

61%funded
$430raised
$264to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.