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Success! Guerdina from Haiti raised $1,500 to fund prep and overseas transport so she can receive life-saving cardiac surgery.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Guerdina's treatment was fully funded on November 12, 2022.

Photo of Guerdina post-operation

November 21, 2022

Guerdina received life-saving cardiac surgery.

During her surgery, doctors were able to repair Guerdina’s damaged heart valve so that it would pump blood more normally through her body. She should no longer have ongoing symptoms from her heart condition.

Guerdina was all smiles to be feeling better and shared: “I am thankful for all the new friends I made and am looking forward to staying in touch with them!”

During her surgery, doctors were able to repair Guerdina's damaged heart valve so that it would pump blood more normally through her body. S...

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May 31, 2022

Guerdina is a 15-year-old girl who lives in the mountains of central Haiti with her parents and four siblings.

When she was 10 years old, Guerdina suffered from rheumatic fever. Her illness severely damaged one of the valves of her heart, making it unable to adequately pump blood through her body. In 2019, she underwent a surgery to repair her damaged heart valve. That procedure helped for several years, but her repaired valve is becoming less functional and now needs to be replaced with an artificial valve. After surgery, Guerdina’s heart should be able to pump more normally and her doctors share that she should be able to lead a full and active life.

Because the surgery she needs in not available in Haiti, Guerdina must travel overseas to receive surgery. On June 2nd, she will undergo heart surgery with the Cardiac team at the Cleveland Clinic, where surgeons will replace her mitral valve. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA) is helping Guerdina’s family raise $1,500 to cover the cost of labs, medication, and follow-up appointments. This will also support her family to obtain passports and the HCA social workers who will accompany Guerdina’s family during their travels.

Guerdina shared, “my entire family and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been helping me!”

Guerdina is a 15-year-old girl who lives in the mountains of central Haiti with her parents and four siblings. When she was 10 years old...

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Guerdina's Timeline

  • May 31, 2022

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

  • June 1, 2022

    Guerdina's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 2, 2022

    Guerdina received treatment at Cleveland Clinic in United States. 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.

  • November 12, 2022

    Guerdina's treatment was fully funded.

  • November 21, 2022

    Guerdina's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $3,680 for Guerdina's treatment
Subsidies fund $2,180 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

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. They also experience generalized weakness and fatigue due to heart failure. Patients with congenital heart disease often experience shortness of breath and failure to thrive.

​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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.