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Nathalia is a crafty and creative seven-year-old from Bolivia who needs $1,500 to fund life-changing cardiac surgery to heal a condition she has had since birth.

Nathalia
63%
  • $955 raised, $545 to go
$955
raised
$545
to go
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July 26, 2022

Nathalia is a crafty and creative seven-year-old from Bolivia who just completed first grade. She lives with her parents and one younger sister. Some of Nathalia’s favorite activities include creating artwork and making crafts!

Nathalia was born with an atrial septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two upper chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole instead of flowing properly through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath.

Fortunately, Nathalia is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 27th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through her body and improving her quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Nathalia’s procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Nathalia and her family can travel to receive her life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz.

Nathalia’s mother shares, “Ever since we learned our daughter was sick, we have been praying every day for this surgery, and we are so glad our prayers are about to be answered!”

Nathalia is a crafty and creative seven-year-old from Bolivia who just completed first grade. She lives with her parents and one younger sis...

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Nathalia's Timeline

  • July 26, 2022
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

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

  • July 27, 2022
    TREATMENT SCHEDULED

    Nathalia was scheduled to receive treatment at Hospital del Niño Dr. Ovidio Aliaga Uría in Bolivia. 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.

  • July 27, 2022
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Nathalia's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • TODAY
    AWAITING FUNDING

    Nathalia is currently raising funds for her treatment.

  • TBD
    AWAITING UPDATE

    Awaiting Nathalia's treatment update from Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

Funded by 33 donors

Treatment
Congenital Cardiac Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $4,000 for Nathalia's treatment
Subsidies fund $2,500 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$3,000
Medical Staff
$300
Medication
$100
Supplies
$0
Travel
$600
  • 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. Parents might notice that their child 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.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Most congenital cardiac conditions will eventually lead to death without surgery, often within a period of months or years depending on severity. 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?

Pediatric open-heart surgery has only been made available in Bolivia in recent years. Most families are unfamiliar with the concept of open-heart surgery and are at first quite reluctant to allow their child to undergo this care. Indigenous belief systems in Bolivia can at times contribute to a family's reluctance to proceed with surgery, and must be addressed through thoughtful conversation and social accompaniment of each family.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

The child's cardiac symptoms are usually first detected by their local pediatrician, who then refers the child to the nearest pediatric cardiologist for exam and diagnosis. Once diagnosed, HCA works with the local cardiologist and the surgical team in La Paz to ensure that the child is enrolled on the waiting list for surgery at the hospital, and works directly with the family to facilitate their transportation to La Paz, often from very long distances, and to support them socially and logistically after arrival. The child then undergoes surgery and recovers for about a week in La Paz before returning home to their community. HCA then coordinates with the child's pediatric cardiologist to ensure high-quality, long-term follow-up care, and provides financial support for medications and doctor visits as needed.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature as the cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should already 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 will separate from the edges of the hole, 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?

For families without private-sector insurance, the cardiac surgery program in La Paz is the only year-round surgical program in Bolivia capable of treating children who need open-heart surgery. Children come to this program from throughout Bolivia; many families live in extremely remote and mountainous areas that can require several days of overland travel to reach La Paz. For patients who live more than 8-10 hours away by road, HCA arranges for families to come by plane from the nearest commercial airport to their home.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are able to obtain their surgeries. 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.

Sry

Sry is a Cambodian homemaker, and likes to grow vegetables around her house to supplement her family's diet. She lives with her husband, who is a rice farmer, and they have three daughters, five sons, and many grandchildren. Much of her time is spent caring for her youngest granddaughter and helping her husband with the farm. For many years, Sry has felt an ear fullness and pain and ringing in the ear. She has had serosanguineous drainage on and off for over twenty years. In the past two weeks, her hearing has been much worse. She is unable to communicate well with her family and neighbors and is embarrassed she does not understand people who speak to her. She has tried many medicines from the pharmacy, but none seem to work. Fortunately, our medical partners at Children's Surgical Centre can help. Doctors diagnosed her with chronic otitis media or "glue ear." Glue ear is where the empty middle part of the ear canal fills up with fluid. The fluid can become thick and glue-like affecting hearing. This can cause temporary hearing loss. On October 19th, Sry will undergo a myringotomy procedure in her left ear. During this procedure, surgeons will insert a grommet. Grommets are tiny tubes that are inserted into the eardrum. They allow air to pass through the eardrum, which keeps the air pressure on either side equal. The surgeon makes a tiny hole in the eardrum and inserts the grommet into the hole. The grommet usually stays in place for six to 12 months and then falls out on its own. Sry needs $184 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Sry shared: "I feel depressed because I cannot understand my family when they talk to me. I hope this operation will help me hear well again, and I will have no more infections or discharge."

10% funded

10%funded
$20raised
$164to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Sry

Sry is a Cambodian homemaker, and likes to grow vegetables around her house to supplement her family's diet. She lives with her husband, who is a rice farmer, and they have three daughters, five sons, and many grandchildren. Much of her time is spent caring for her youngest granddaughter and helping her husband with the farm. For many years, Sry has felt an ear fullness and pain and ringing in the ear. She has had serosanguineous drainage on and off for over twenty years. In the past two weeks, her hearing has been much worse. She is unable to communicate well with her family and neighbors and is embarrassed she does not understand people who speak to her. She has tried many medicines from the pharmacy, but none seem to work. Fortunately, our medical partners at Children's Surgical Centre can help. Doctors diagnosed her with chronic otitis media or "glue ear." Glue ear is where the empty middle part of the ear canal fills up with fluid. The fluid can become thick and glue-like affecting hearing. This can cause temporary hearing loss. On October 19th, Sry will undergo a myringotomy procedure in her left ear. During this procedure, surgeons will insert a grommet. Grommets are tiny tubes that are inserted into the eardrum. They allow air to pass through the eardrum, which keeps the air pressure on either side equal. The surgeon makes a tiny hole in the eardrum and inserts the grommet into the hole. The grommet usually stays in place for six to 12 months and then falls out on its own. Sry needs $184 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Sry shared: "I feel depressed because I cannot understand my family when they talk to me. I hope this operation will help me hear well again, and I will have no more infections or discharge."

10% funded

10%funded
$20raised
$164to go