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Shelda is a student from Haiti who needs $1,343 to fund transportation for cardiac surgery.

Shelda
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  • $738 raised, $605 to go
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$605
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July 5, 2017

Shelda is a nine-year-old student who lives with her parents, grandparents, and older brother in northern Haiti. She enjoys going to school, playing with her friends, and singing in church.

Shelda suffers from cardiac conditions known as mitral and aortic regurgitation, which she developed due to a rheumatic fever that she contracted several years ago. As a result, blood backs up into her heart and does not properly circulate through her body, leaving Shelda weak, short of breath, and at risk of fatal heart failure.

Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is requesting $1,343 to cover the cost of Shelda’s air transportation to the Cayman Islands, where she is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 5. Once there, she will receive the care that she needs and will hopefully be able to live more comfortably.

“I am excited for the day when Shelda can do everything she wants without getting tired and needing to rest,” says Shelda’s mother.

Shelda is a nine-year-old student who lives with her parents, grandparents, and older brother in northern Haiti. She enjoys going to school,...

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Shelda's Timeline

  • July 5, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • July 05, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Shelda received treatment at Health City Cayman Islands.

  • July 13, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Shelda's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • July 27, 2017
    AWAITING UPDATE

    Awaiting Shelda's treatment update from Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

  • TODAY
    AWAITING FUNDING

    Shelda is currently raising funds for her treatment.

Funded by 10 donors

Funded by 10 donors

Treatment
Patient Air Transport
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,343 for Shelda's treatment
Hospital Fees
$0
Medical Staff
$0
Medication
$0
Supplies
$0
Travel
$1,343
  • 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.