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Success! John from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund heart surgery.

John
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
John's treatment was fully funded on December 16, 2019.

Photo of John post-operation

January 29, 2020

John underwent heart surgery.

We have just received an update from our medical partner that while John had a difficult journey, he is on the road to a full recovery. After surgeons repaired John’s heart defect, he had a very difficult post-operative course, and spent several weeks in a coma with his survival uncertain. After coming out of his coma, John has made steady progress; he will need ongoing physical therapy and other support to get his strength back, but doctors expect a full recovery over the long term.

John’s father shared, “We are very happy to be returning to Haiti and reuniting with the rest of our family!”

We have just received an update from our medical partner that while John had a difficult journey, he is on the road to a full recovery. Afte...

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August 20, 2019

John is a student from Haiti. He lives with his parents and three siblings in a coastal city in northwest Haiti. He is about to start the second grade. John has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This condition involves several related defects including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. These defects prevent his body from getting the oxygen it needs.

John will fly to Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On September 12, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which Surgeons will close the hole in his heart with a patch, and remove the muscular blockage from his valve.. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $15000.0 to pay for surgery.

John’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 John’s family overseas.

From John’s father: “We are hopeful that our son will be able to live more normally once his surgery is over.”

John is a student from Haiti. He lives with his parents and three siblings in a coastal city in northwest Haiti. He is about to start the se...

Read more

John's Timeline

  • August 20, 2019
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • September 12, 2019
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    John 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.

  • September 15, 2019
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    John's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 16, 2019
    FULLY FUNDED

    John's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 29, 2020
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    John's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 20 donors

Funded by 20 donors

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

Htay

Htay is a 54-year-old single woman from Burma. She lives with her sister, three nephews and a niece in Mudon Township, Mon State, Burma. Her nephew and her sister work on a rubber farm while her two other nephews go to school. Her oldest nephew also works in a phone shop. Htay is a homemaker and she does not have income. She lives and eats with her nephews and niece. Htay was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of her mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. When Htay was 30 years old, she started to feel tired, and experienced shortness of breath and difficulty breathing at night. She went to the Yangon General Hospital for treatment. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis and she underwent a procedure called a balloon valvotomy to widen the too narrow valve in her heart. She was fine after her treatment. Four years later, she started to experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and could no longer do household chores. However, she did not go to the hospital as she could not afford to pay for further treatment. On the 5th of July 2019, her niece’s husband suggested she seek treatment at Pinlon Hospital, where he had also received surgery in the past. She followed her niece’s husband’s advice and went to Pinlon Hospital. At the hospital she received another screening and the doctor told her she needs to replace one of the valves in her heart. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Htay. The treatment is scheduled to take place on February 19th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Htay said, “After I went to Yangon Hospital several times and the doctor said that I had to have surgery as soon as possible, I felt so sad, but I tried to keep up my courage to stay strong. I secretly sold three acres of my farmland which my parents gave me. [However, I did not receive surgery] because if I would have died after surgery, my sister would have had difficulty paying for my funeral, so I was waiting and praying to meet with donors for a long time. Now, I feel less stressed since I talked to Burma Children Medical Fund staff. Thank you everyone for helping me!”

85% funded

85%funded
$1,280raised
$220to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.