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

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Djouvensley's treatment was fully funded on October 12, 2015.

Photo of Djouvensley post-operation

October 28, 2015

Djouvensley received life-saving heart surgery.

Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), reports, “During surgery, the defect in Djouvensley’s heart was closed and blood no longer flows through it. He should be able to lead a normal life with no further cardiac symptoms.”

“I would like to thank everyone who helped Djouvensley have his surgery,” his mother adds. “Thank you so much!”

Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), reports, "During surgery, the defect in Djouvensley's heart was closed and blood no longe...

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September 11, 2015

Meet Djouvensley, a 4-year-old boy from Haiti.

“He is an only child and is very close to his mother, and shy around people he doesn’t know,” explains our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). “He hasn’t started preschool yet, in part because of his cardiac condition, but his mother plans to enroll him as soon as he has healed from surgery.”

“Djouvensley was born with a cardiac condition called double outlet right ventricle, a birth defect in which both major arteries flow out of the same chamber of the heart, creating circulatory problem,” reports HCA. “This leaves him weak and at risk of death if not corrected.”

It is important that Djouvensley’s condition is treated as soon as possible. The treatment for double outlet right ventricle is surgery. Upon looking at the heart to decide the best course of treatment, surgeons will proceed to connect the aorta to the left ventricle and the pulmonary artery to the right ventricle. This will fix the circulatory problem and ensure blood flows through Djouvensley’s heart correctly.

An organization called International Children’s Heart Foundation is helping with the costs of the surgery. With their generous subsidy, Djouvensley only needs our help in raising $1,500 for the surgery.

After the surgery, doctors anticipate that Djouvensley will no longer experience any cardiac symptoms. He will be able to live a normal life and do the things he enjoys without complication.

“We are so thankful to everyone who is helping my son,” shares Djouvensley’s mother. “I can never thank you enough but God will reward you.”

Meet Djouvensley, a 4-year-old boy from Haiti. “He is an only child and is very close to his mother, and shy around people he doesn’t kno...

Read more

Djouvensley's Timeline

  • September 11, 2015

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

  • September 12, 2015

    Djouvensley received treatment at St. Damien Hospital in Haiti. 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.

  • October 1, 2015

    Djouvensley's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 12, 2015

    Djouvensley's treatment was fully funded.

  • October 28, 2015

    We received an update on Djouvensley. Read the update.

Domestic Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
  • 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 staff decides whether the child can be treated in-country or needs to be flown elsewhere to access care. If the child can be treated in-country, he or she is scheduled for an upcoming surgical mission. In the meantime, HCA provides periodic cardiac checkups. 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. 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.