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Success! Samuel from Dominican Republic raised $1,500 to fund prep for cardiac surgery.

Samuel
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Samuel's treatment was fully funded on July 22, 2017.

Photo of Samuel post-operation

March 7, 2017

Samuel underwent successful cardiac surgery.

During surgery, the hole in Samuel’s heart was closed with a patch and the muscular blockage in his valve was removed. He should now be able to live a normal life with no further risks or complications from this condition.

He says, “I am excited that I can run around and play all day long without worrying about my heart!”

During surgery, the hole in Samuel's heart was closed with a patch and the muscular blockage in his valve was removed. He should now be able...

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February 13, 2017

Samuel is ten years old and lives with his mother in La Romana, a city in eastern Dominican Republic. He is an excellent student and would like to grow up to be a pediatric cardiologist.

Samuel was born with a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which involves several related defects. There is a hole between two chambers of his heart and a muscular blockage in one of his heart’s valves. This condition prevents oxygen from fully circulating through his body, leaving him weak and short of breath. Although Samuel is not Haitian, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is collaborating with their partners in the Dominican Republic to offer treatment to Dominican children. He will undergo cardiac surgery at our medical partner’s care center.

First, Samuel will undergo a full cardiac assessment on February 13. This assessment will include physical exams, labs, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is requesting $1,500 to fund these procedures. Funding for Samuel also covers the cost of medications and social support for him and him family. Gift of Life International is contributing $7,000 to cover additional costs associated with Samuel’s surgical care.

After his treatment, Samuel will be able to grow normally and be free from his condition. He will also be able to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

“I am excited to be a doctor when I grow up so that I can help other kids who have the same problem I have now,” says Samuel.

Samuel is ten years old and lives with his mother in La Romana, a city in eastern Dominican Republic. He is an excellent student and would l...

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Samuel's Timeline

  • February 13, 2017
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • February 13, 2017
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Samuel received treatment at Hospital Pediatrico Robert Reid Cabral.

  • February 16, 2017
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Samuel's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 07, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Samuel's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • July 22, 2017
    FULLY FUNDED

    Samuel's treatment was fully funded.

Treatment
Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $2,080 for Samuel's treatment
Subsidies fund $580 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$1,000
Medical Staff
$450
Medication
$360
Supplies
$0
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.

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