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Success! Carlens from Haiti raised $1,500 for life-saving heart surgery.

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

Photo of Carlens post-operation

July 11, 2016

Carlens received life-saving heart surgery.

During the procedure, the hole in Carlens’s heart was closed with a catheter device. He now has normal blood flow through his heart and should have no further symptoms.

His mother shares, “I am very happy that everything went well for Carlens and he can grow and be healthy! Thank you everyone!”

During the procedure, the hole in Carlens's heart was closed with a catheter device. He now has normal blood flow through his heart and shou...

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May 26, 2016

Carlens is a 10-month-old boy who lives with his parents, brother, sister, and grandmother in Haiti. His father is a schoolteacher, and his mother stays at home with the family. Carlens likes playing with his crib toys and having his family sing to him.

Carlens was born with a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus. With this condition, a hole in the heart that normally closes shortly after birth remains open. Blood leaks through this hole without passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak. Carlens also has Down syndrome.

Surgery is required to close the hole in Carlens’s heart. For $1,500 in funding from Watsi, Haiti Cardiac Alliance will provide the overseas preparation and transportation required for Carlens’s surgery. Health City Cayman Islands has donated $5000 to cover the costs of surgery and post-operative hospital care at their medical facilities.

“I am excited for Carlens to have this surgery so that he will have more energy and stop getting sick so often,” shares his mother.

Carlens is a 10-month-old boy who lives with his parents, brother, sister, and grandmother in Haiti. His father is a schoolteacher, and his ...

Read more

Carlens's Timeline

  • May 26, 2016
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • June 1, 2016
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Carlens 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.

  • June 1, 2016
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Carlens's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 1, 2016
    FULLY FUNDED

    Carlens's treatment was fully funded.

  • July 11, 2016
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Carlens's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 9 donors

Funded by 9 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.

Mi Mi

Mi Mi is a hardworking 40-year-old woman from Burma who lives alone and likes to read religious books in her free time. She previously worked as a domestic worker, but she had to stop once her condition worsened. Four months ago, Mi Mi's left foot became swollen. She gradually developed a painful abscess on her left foot. She attempted to treat herself with traditional medicine, but it only worsened the abscess. Despite her desire to seek treatment at a clinic or hospital, her financial constraints prevented her from doing so. She is currently unable to walk due to the pain and pus in her foot. She also experiences pins and needles in both of her legs and has difficulty sleeping at night. Fortunately, neighbors arranged for her to be brought to our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). At the hospital, doctor examined her left foot and diagnosed her with cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. Mi Mi is scheduled to undergo a procedure to drain the abscess on July 26th at MCLH. Our medical partner is requesting $760 to fund this procedure, which will cover medication, supplies, inpatient care, physical therapy, and travel to the hospital. After surgery, Mi Mi's symptoms will hopefully be alleviated, and she will be able to walk again. Mi Mi says, "When I learned a charity organization will help pay for my treatment cost, I felt very happy. I want to say thank you to all the donors and everyone else who has helped me."

56% funded

56%funded
$429raised
$331to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.