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

Gabriel
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Gabriel's treatment was fully funded on February 1, 2018.

Photo of Gabriel post-operation

November 30, 2017

Gabriel underwent cardiac surgery.

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Gabriel’s heart, and a device was used to block the blood vessel so that blood can no longer leak through it. He should be able to lead a normal life with no further complications from this condition.

His mother says, “I am very happy to see my son eating well and gaining weight!”

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Gabriel's heart, and a device was used to block the blood vessel so that blood can no lon...

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November 3, 2017

Gabriel is a preschooler from Haiti. He lives in Cap Haitien, a city in northern Haiti, with his mother, father, and brothers. He is an outgoing and curious child who makes friends easily.

Gabriel has a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus. A blood vessel near the heart that normally closes shortly after birth instead remains open. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak.

Gabriel will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On November 6, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will use a catheter to close the blood vessel so that blood can no longer leak through it. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $12,000 to pay for surgery.

Gabriel’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 Gabriel’s family overseas.

His mother says, “I am very happy that my son can have his heart fixed so he will be able to start preschool without problems!”

Gabriel is a preschooler from Haiti. He lives in Cap Haitien, a city in northern Haiti, with his mother, father, and brothers. He is an outg...

Read more

Gabriel's Timeline

  • November 3, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • November 06, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Gabriel 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.

  • November 06, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Gabriel's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • November 30, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Gabriel's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • February 01, 2018
    FULLY FUNDED

    Gabriel's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

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