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Roobens from Haiti raised $1,500 for a critical diagnostic procedure.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Roobens's treatment was fully funded on December 31, 2015.

Photo of Roobens post-operation

August 12, 2016

Roobens received his critical diagnostic procedure.

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Roobens’s heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely undergo cardiac surgery. The procedure itself was successful; however, because Roobens’s case is so complex the catheterization results now need to be reviewed in detail by a panel of experts to plan his course of treatment; this process will likely take several more weeks.

“We are very grateful to everyone for taking such good care of Roobens,” his father shared. “We will hope for good news from the doctors.”

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Roobens's heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely und...

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December 23, 2015

3-year-old Roobens was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, “which involves a hole between two chambers of the heart as well as a muscular blockage of one of the valves,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). “Blood flows through the hole in his heart without first passing through the lungs to get oxygen, leaving him sickly and short of breath. Because of the severity of this condition, there is a chance it may not be repairable, but the only way to determine this is by inserting a catheter into the chambers of his heart. Since this is not possible in Haiti, arrangements are being made to bring him to Dominican Republic to perform this extremely important test in the hopes that he can have heart surgery later in the year.”

Roobens lives in a valley in central Haiti with his mother, father, and one older brother. His parents are rice farmers. He likes to help around the house and sing and dance.

For $1,500, Roobens will be transported to the Dominican Republic and receive a procedure to diagnose his condition with certainty.

“Following the catheterization procedure, Roobens’s family will know with certainty whether his condition is operable or not,” HCA says. “If operable, plans will then be made to move forward with his surgery as soon as possible.”

“Our family is all praying to God that the test will give us hope for the future,” his mother says.

3-year-old Roobens was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, “which involves a hole between two chambers of the heart as...

Read more

Roobens's Timeline

  • December 23, 2015

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

  • December 29, 2015

    Roobens's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 31, 2015

    Roobens's treatment was fully funded.

  • July 1, 2016

    Roobens received treatment at Clinica Corominas in Haiti. 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.

  • August 12, 2016

    We received an update on Roobens. Read the update.

Funded by 21 donors

Funded by 21 donors

Diagnostic Heart Catheterization
  • 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 who undergo diagnostic catheterization are born with one of several types of congenital holes or defects in the heart.

​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. In some cases, the child may be eligible for surgery, but only after a cardiac catheterization to determine whether the pressures upon the lungs are still reversible. In this case, the child travels to the Dominican Republic to undergo this procedure. The child stay in the hospital overnight and is discharged the next day. Once the results are received, HCA can decide on next steps.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

The cardiac catheterization itself is diagnostic in nature and does not cure the patient's heart condition. However, the patient cannot be accepted for surgery anywhere without first undergoing this procedure. It is thus a life-saving step in his or her treatment plan.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Diagnostic catheterization is a relatively low-risk procedure. However, risks include excessive bleeding at the incision site and accidental puncture of the cardiac tissue with the catheter probe.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

The country of Haiti currently has no cardiac catheterization lab, which is why all of HCA's patients must travel to Dominican Republic for this service.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no alternatives to diagnostic catheterization for measuring pulmonary pressures and assessing surgical viability.

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.