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Success! Sarah from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Sarah
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Sarah's treatment was fully funded on February 1, 2018.

Photo of Sarah post-operation

November 30, 2017

Sarah underwent cardiac surgery.

During surgery, the hole in Sarah’s heart was closed with a patch, and the muscular blockage near her valve was removed. She should now be able to lead a normal life without danger from this condition.

“I am so excited to see Sarah run and play for the first time!”

During surgery, the hole in Sarah's heart was closed with a patch, and the muscular blockage near her valve was removed. She should now be a...

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November 6, 2017

Sarah is a student from Haiti. She lives with her parents, brothers, and sisters in a rural area in the mountains of central Haiti. Her parents are both farmers. Sarah has graduated kindergarten but is not attending first grade this year because of her illness.

Sarah has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This diagnosis involves several related defects, including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a blockage of one of the valves.

Sarah will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On November 10, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the hole in her heart with a patch and remove the muscular blockage in her valve. Another organization, Health City Cayman Islands, is contributing $22,000 to pay for surgery.

Sarah’s family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Sarah’s family overseas.

Her aunt says, “Our family is very excited for Sarah’s surgery so that she can be healthy and safe, and can go to school.”

Sarah is a student from Haiti. She lives with her parents, brothers, and sisters in a rural area in the mountains of central Haiti. Her pare...

Read more

Sarah's Timeline

  • November 6, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • November 06, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Sarah's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • November 10, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Sarah received treatment at Health City 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.

  • November 30, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Sarah's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • February 01, 2018
    FULLY FUNDED

    Sarah's treatment was fully funded.

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,980 for Sarah's treatment
Subsidies fund $480 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$0
Medical Staff
$450
Medication
$360
Supplies
$0
Travel
$900
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.

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.