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Success! Roberto from Dominican Republic raised $1,500 to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Roberto
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Roberto's treatment was fully funded on July 22, 2017.

Photo of Roberto post-operation

March 7, 2017

Roberto underwent successful cardiac surgery.

During surgery, the hole in Roberto’s heart was closed with a patch, and blood no longer leaks through it. He should be able to lead a normal life with no further symptoms from this condition.

He says, “I am very happy that I can leave the hospital to go start school again and see all my friends!”

During surgery, the hole in Roberto's heart was closed with a patch, and blood no longer leaks through it. He should be able to lead a norma...

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February 13, 2017

Roberto is ten years old and lives in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his mother and two sisters. He is in the fourth grade and would like to be a pilot when he grows up.

Roberto was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of his heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak. Although Roberto is not Haitian, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is collaborating with their partners in the Dominican Republic to offer treatment to Dominican children. He will undergo cardiac surgery at our medical partner’s care center.

First, Roberto will undergo a full cardiac assessment on February 13. This assessment will include physical exams, labs, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is requesting $1,500 to fund these procedures. Funding for Roberto also covers the cost of medications and social support for him and him family. Gift of Life International is contributing $7,000 to cover additional costs associated with Roberto’s surgical care.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who is helping me to get my heart fixed,” says Roberto.

Roberto is ten years old and lives in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his mother and two sisters. He is in the fourt...

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Roberto's Timeline

  • February 13, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • February 13, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Roberto received treatment at Hospital Pediatrico Robert Reid Cabral. 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.

  • February 15, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Roberto's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 07, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Roberto's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • July 22, 2017
    FULLY FUNDED

    Roberto's treatment was fully funded.

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $2,080 for Roberto's treatment
Subsidies fund $580 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$1,000
Medical Staff
$450
Medication
$360
Supplies
$0
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.

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Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Suliman

Suliman is an 11-month baby who needs surgery in Ethiopia. His family came from the Gambia in August 2019 in need of medical care. His mom gave birth to Suliman when she was 20 years old. She dropped out of school when she was in Grade 8 because her mom couldn’t afford to send her to school anymore. Suliman has multiple birth defects including cleft lip, club foot, tongue-tie, fused finger, and bilateral undescended testicles. His mom tried to get her baby treated in the Gambia but the hospitals referred them to another country that can better provide the surgery. Since the family could not afford to get the child the surgery they communicated to different organizations and were able to come to Ethiopia. Suliman has now finished all his surgeries except undescended testicles and fused fingers. Suliman was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Suliman has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Suliman will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on May 5th. AMHF is requesting $1,021 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. "I see good hope for him once he finishes his last operation. Because he will be free of all the potential deformities and disabilities and he can live like a normal person. He can live as healthy as others free from the risk of other future complications. And I believe he will go to school and help himself well," Suliman's mom says.

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