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Wensly from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund surgery prep and travel so his heart condition can finally be treated.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Wensly's treatment was fully funded on January 23, 2023.

Photo of Wensly post-operation

February 9, 2023

Wensly underwent surgery so his heart condition could finally be treated.

After arrival at the hospital, doctors performed a diagnostic cardiac catheterization (a procedure not available in Haiti) which determined that the best and safest way to manage his heart condition is through a program of medications and frequent checkups rather than a full open-heart surgery. The surgical team will work closely with his pediatric cardiologist in Haiti to keep Wensly healthy and with as few heart symptoms as possible as he grows.

His mother shared: “Our family is very thankful to everyone who has taken such good care of our son!”

After arrival at the hospital, doctors performed a diagnostic cardiac catheterization (a procedure not available in Haiti) which determined ...

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August 31, 2022

Wensly is a sweet two-year-old toddler from Haiti who loves to draw and to play with his toy trucks. He lives with his parents and older sister in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city.

Wensly was born with a ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him weak and short of breath.

Fortunately, Wensly is scheduled to fly to the Cayman Islands where he will undergo cardiac surgery at Health City Cayman Islands on September 19th. During this procedure, surgeons will sew a patch over the hole in his heart to prevent blood from flowing through it.

A portion of the cost of Wensly’s treatment is being supported by Have a Heart Cayman. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is raising the remaining $1,500 to cover the costs of his surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-up and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA’s social workers to accompany Wensly and his family overseas.

Wensly’s mother shares, “Our family has been hoping for this surgery since our son was a baby, and we are so thankful it is almost here!”

Wensly is a sweet two-year-old toddler from Haiti who loves to draw and to play with his toy trucks. He lives with his parents and older sis...

Read more

Wensly's Timeline

  • August 31, 2022

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

  • September 1, 2022

    Wensly's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • September 19, 2022

    Wensly 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.

  • January 23, 2023

    Wensly's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 9, 2023

    We received an update on Wensly. Read the update.

Funded by 28 donors

Funded by 28 donors

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Wensly's treatment
Subsidies fund $480 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
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.