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

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Benjamin's treatment was fully funded on September 24, 2016.

Photo of Benjamin post-operation

October 25, 2016

Benjamin successfully received life-saving heart surgery.

Benjamin is doing great and his surgery was a success! During the procedure, a catheter was used to stretch Benjamin’s heart valve open to a near-normal size. Blood can now pass more freely through this valve, and as a result Benjamin should be able to live without any further cardiac symptoms.

“Benjamin has had a wonderful time in the hospital and has made a lot of new friends here,” shares Benjamin’s mother. “Thank you everyone!”

Benjamin is doing great and his surgery was a success! During the procedure, a catheter was used to stretch Benjamin's heart valve open to a...

Read more
August 12, 2016

Benjamin is 14-years-old and lives in Haiti. He was born with a cardiac condition called valvar pulmonic stenosis, in which one of the four valves of his heart is too narrow to allow enough blood to pass through it. As a result, blood backs up into his heart, leaving him sickly and weak and causing heart failure.

Benjamin was also born with developmental disabilities; he does not speak, though he is almost always smiling and makes friends easily with everyone around him. Benjamin lives in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince with his mother, father, and two younger brothers. He does not currently attend school because there is no special-needs school in his area, but helps his parents around the house and plays in the neighborhood with the other children.

For $1,500, Benjamin will be transported overseas to undergo a $5,000 heart surgery that is subsidized by Have a Heart Cayman Islands.

“We have been hoping for a long time that Benjamin’s heart problem could be fixed,” shares Benjamin’s mother. “We are so happy our prayers are being answered.”

Benjamin is 14-years-old and lives in Haiti. He was born with a cardiac condition called valvar pulmonic stenosis, in which one of the four ...

Read more

Benjamin's Timeline

  • August 12, 2016

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

  • August 16, 2016

    Benjamin 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.

  • September 7, 2016

    Benjamin's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • September 24, 2016

    Benjamin's treatment was fully funded.

  • October 25, 2016

    Benjamin's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 10 donors

Funded by 10 donors

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Benjamin'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.