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Robert from Haiti raised $1,500 for life-saving heart surgery.

Robert
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Robert's treatment was fully funded on March 3, 2016.

Photo of Robert post-operation

June 24, 2016

Robert received life-saving heart surgery.

During surgery, a shunt was placed that will allow oxygen-rich blood to circulate within Robert’s body, enabling his heart to continue growing and developing. In one to two years, he will require a second surgery to completely repair his heart.

“Robert looks so much healthier since his surgery,” his mother shared. “He has much more energy. I am very happy and would like to thank everyone.”

During surgery, a shunt was placed that will allow oxygen-rich blood to circulate within Robert's body, enabling his heart to continue growi...

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February 15, 2016

Robert, an 11-month boy from Haiti, was born with a heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot. This heart condition is characterized by four heart defects that combine to prevent oxygen from effectively circulating throughout the body. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), shares that as a result, Robert has difficulty breathing and remains sickly.

Robert, who lives in Port-au-Prince with his mother and father, “is a quiet and happy baby and likes to play with toys and listen to music,” HCA details. “His mother stays at home with him, and his father works as a vendor in the local market.”

Most children who are diagnosed early with tetralogy of Fallot can live relatively normal lives if they receive appropriate treatment. Health City Cayman Islands has also committed to subsidizing Robert’s surgery with $3,500. An additional $1,500 will allow Robert the surgery he needs to become healthy.

HCA details: “During surgery, a shunt will be placed, allowing Robert’s blood to receive more oxygen while his heart continues to grow and develop. In about two years, he will require a second surgery to completely repair his cardiac defect.”

“I have been very worried about Robert and I am so glad that there is a surgery that can help him be safe and healthy,” Robert’s mother shares. “Thank you, everyone!”

Robert, an 11-month boy from Haiti, was born with a heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot. This heart condition is characterized by fou...

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Robert's Timeline

  • February 15, 2016
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • February 19, 2016
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Robert 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.

  • March 1, 2016
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Robert's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 3, 2016
    FULLY FUNDED

    Robert's treatment was fully funded.

  • June 24, 2016
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    We received an update on Robert. Read the update.

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

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Saw Wah

Saw Wah is a 14-year-old grade six student from Burma. Saw Wah lives with his parents and five younger brothers in a village in Hpapun Township in Karen State where there is a lot of unrest currently. Saw Wah's father works as a day labourer when there is no work on the farm. Saw Wah's youngest brother is too young to enroll in school while his four other brothers stopped going to school this last year. Saw Wah shared, “They do not want to attend school because fighting happens very often in this area. We have to run and hide in the jungle where we study and they do not like to study in the jungle.” Saw Wah’s family also raises chickens and two goats for their own consumption. They also often go fishing and forage for vegetables in the jungle. Even though his family does not have a regular income, they can gather enough food. Saw Wah's family receives free basic healthcare at a free clinic near their village. Around 2018 or 2019, Saw Wah developed a runny nose with yellowish nasal discharge. At first, he thought that this was normal, and it would go away on its own. Towards the end of April 2022, Saw Wah nose became blocked, and he could no longer breath through his nose. He finally told his parents about his symptoms and his father took him to the free clinic at Ei Tu Hta Internally Displaced Camp. At the clinic, the medic checked Saw Wah's nostrils and told them that there is mass blocking the nasal passage in both of his nostrils. The medic also recommended Saw Wah go to a larger hospital for further investigation. At this time, Saw Wah has to breathe through his mouth which causes him discomfort. He has lost his sense of taste and smell, and has a hard time sleeping. Due to these symptoms, Saw Wah has had to stop his studies while he receives treatment. Saw Wah worries that it will take a while, and he will not be able to study this year. Fortunately, Saw Wah sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Now he is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on September 6th. BCMF is fundraising $1,500 to cover the cost of Saw Wah's procedure and care. Saw Wah shared, "I am excited to receive surgery and I hope that I will be able to breath through my nose after surgery."

78% funded

78%funded
$1,173raised
$327to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Saw Wah

Saw Wah is a 14-year-old grade six student from Burma. Saw Wah lives with his parents and five younger brothers in a village in Hpapun Township in Karen State where there is a lot of unrest currently. Saw Wah's father works as a day labourer when there is no work on the farm. Saw Wah's youngest brother is too young to enroll in school while his four other brothers stopped going to school this last year. Saw Wah shared, “They do not want to attend school because fighting happens very often in this area. We have to run and hide in the jungle where we study and they do not like to study in the jungle.” Saw Wah’s family also raises chickens and two goats for their own consumption. They also often go fishing and forage for vegetables in the jungle. Even though his family does not have a regular income, they can gather enough food. Saw Wah's family receives free basic healthcare at a free clinic near their village. Around 2018 or 2019, Saw Wah developed a runny nose with yellowish nasal discharge. At first, he thought that this was normal, and it would go away on its own. Towards the end of April 2022, Saw Wah nose became blocked, and he could no longer breath through his nose. He finally told his parents about his symptoms and his father took him to the free clinic at Ei Tu Hta Internally Displaced Camp. At the clinic, the medic checked Saw Wah's nostrils and told them that there is mass blocking the nasal passage in both of his nostrils. The medic also recommended Saw Wah go to a larger hospital for further investigation. At this time, Saw Wah has to breathe through his mouth which causes him discomfort. He has lost his sense of taste and smell, and has a hard time sleeping. Due to these symptoms, Saw Wah has had to stop his studies while he receives treatment. Saw Wah worries that it will take a while, and he will not be able to study this year. Fortunately, Saw Wah sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Now he is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on September 6th. BCMF is fundraising $1,500 to cover the cost of Saw Wah's procedure and care. Saw Wah shared, "I am excited to receive surgery and I hope that I will be able to breath through my nose after surgery."

78% funded

78%funded
$1,173raised
$327to go