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Success! Rebecca from Haiti raised $1,500 to treat a congenital heart disease.

Rebecca
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Rebecca's treatment was fully funded on December 25, 2015.

Photo of Rebecca post-operation

February 8, 2016

Rebecca received life-saving heart surgery.

“During surgery, the hole in Rebecca’s heart was closed with a patch, and the muscular blockage in her valve was removed,” reports her doctor at Haiti Cardiac Alliance. “She should be able to lead a normal life with no further need for cardiac surgery.”

“Rebecca was just able to start preschool for the first time because her heart is now healthy enough for her to go,” shares Rebecca’s mother. “We are very happy that she can be a normal child!”

"During surgery, the hole in Rebecca's heart was closed with a patch, and the muscular blockage in her valve was removed," reports her docto...

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November 30, 2015

Meet Rebecca, a three-year-old girl from Haiti. Rebecca lives with her mother and father, and she likes to play dress-up and play with dolls. She is very outgoing and likes to sing and dance, according to our medical partner, the Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA).

“Rebecca was born with a congenital heart condition called tetralogy of fallot, which involves several related defects, including a hole between two chambers of the heart and a muscular blockage of one of the heart’s valves,” explains HCA. “As a result, Rebecca’s heart cannot deliver enough oxygen to her body, and she is sickly and weak. If untreated, the condition would be fatal.”

For $1,500, we can fund a treatment that will restore normal blood flow to Rebecca’s heart and allow her to live a normal life. This amount provides funding for overseas prep and transport, as HCA secures overseas heart surgeries for procedures that are not easily accessible in Haiti. The treatment is subsidized by a $10,000 donation from Safra Children’s Hospital.

“We were very happy to find out that Rebecca could have surgery for her heart problem,” her mother shares. “We are praying that all will go well!”

Meet Rebecca, a three-year-old girl from Haiti. Rebecca lives with her mother and father, and she likes to play dress-up and play with dolls...

Read more

Rebecca's Timeline

  • November 30, 2015
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • December 1, 2015
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Rebecca received treatment at Safra Children’s Hospital, Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel. 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.

  • December 24, 2015
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Rebecca's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 25, 2015
    FULLY FUNDED

    Rebecca's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 8, 2016
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Rebecca's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 20 donors

Funded by 20 donors

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

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Naw En

Naw En is a 31-year-old woman who lives with her husband, two sons and parents in a village in Karen State near the border of Burma and Thailand. Her husband and parents are subsistence farmers. Naw En is a village health worker, and her two sons are primary school students in the village. Although she earns around 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) per month to support her family, she does whatever she can to only charge the villagers she treats for medications provided. Those who cannot afford to pay for the cost of medications are provided medication free of charge. Her family also raises chickens and pigs for their family to eat. The income Naw En earns is just enough to cover their daily expenses, but they have to borrow money to pay for anything else, like basic health care. Naw En learned she was pregnant last August 2021. She went to register her pregnancy at nearby Hlaingbwe Hospital, but the doctor told her to go to Hpa-An General Hospital when she told them that she had high blood pressure and previously needed a c-section delivery. When she went to Hpa-An General Hospital, a nurse told her to go to Taw Win Thu Ka Hospital because they were understaffed due to the coup and humanitarian crisis in their area. Finally, she then registered her pregnancy at Taw Win Thu Ka Hospital last November and received an ultrasound, blood test and urine test. The doctor gave her monthly follow-up appointments to check her high blood pressure and to check that her baby is in the right position. In January, Naw En learned that she will have a girl. “I was very happy to hear this as I already have two sons,” she said. Her doctor has now told her that she will need another c-section to ensure a safe delivery and unable to come up with the money needed, Naw En called her friend who works in Mae Sot to ask for help. Her friend told her about our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) and that she may be able to find assistance in accessing her treatment. Currently, Naw En is taking medication for high blood pressure and feels tired when she walks. She can feel her baby kicking. When her blood pressure is high, she feels dizzy. She feels stressed each time she has to travel to the hospital, as it is located four hours from her home and cost 60,000 kyat (approx. 60 USD) just for the round-trip transportation. She is also worried about the cost of her c-section and that they would have to borrow money if they cannot find donors. In the future, she will continue to work as a village health worker. In her free times, she loves to spend time with her two sons and play with them. Naw En said, “I was happy when BCMF staff told me that donors will help pay for my c-section. Thank you so much to the donors for reliving me of my worries.” She also added, “I am very happy and excited to have a baby girl!”

60% funded

60%funded
$801raised
$527to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.