Malica's Heart Surgery
We need your help to fund life-saving heart surgery for four-year-old Malica Benoit! Malica suffers from a congenital heart condition, and without surgery, she will not live until adulthood. Thankfully, a Haitian surgeon has agreed to perform the operation for free, but Malica still needs $600 for transportation and inpatient care before and after the surgery. This is a rare chance to change the course of a child’s life, but Malica’s window of opportunity is closing quickly. With your support today, Malica can live a long and fulfilling life for years to come. You can support Malica through our Facebook fundraiser or our website.
Malica has two older siblings—a seven-year-old brother and a seventeen-year-old sister. All three children are fortunate enough to attend school, which costs 3,000 Haitian gourdes per year. Their mother spends all of her time caring for the children and maintaining the household, while their father works long days as a farmer. They also run a small business, selling maggi cubes to generate additional income.
When we first met Malica, we immediately noticed her big, brown eyes. She was wearing a Tinkerbell shirt and sat on her mother’s lap. Malica is like most four-year-olds—she enjoys school, playing with her siblings, and running around with her friends. However, her playtime is extremely limited because she is so easily fatigued due to a heart defect.
Upon listening to Malica’s heart, Chris Clouse, a registered nurse, could hear a murmur and was concerned that it may be a congenital heart defect or an abnormal hole in the heart. The murmur in her heart was audible with a stethoscope and could be felt by placing a hand on her chest. From these observations, Chris deduced that Malica had a large hole in her heart. For further analysis, Malica visited the YSI clinic and was seen by our local physician, Dr. Tony. Dr. Tony directed Malica to receive an echocardiogram, the cost of which was covered by Chris, Wayde, Melaney, and Emily, four YSI leaders. A few weeks later, the test was completed with the help of Hans, one of our translators. The test results were immediately sent to Chris, who had since returned to the U.S. and works in a cardiac unit in a hospital in Columbus, OH. He consulted multiple U.S. heart surgeons and intensive care specialists to determine that Malica suffers from mitral valve regurgitation, mild tricuspid valve regurgitation, and, possibly, a ventricular septal defect.
In short, this means she has multiple problems with her heart valves and, possibly, a hole between the ventricles. A single surgery can be performed to solve all of these problems. Once completed, Malica can live a completely ordinary life, suffering no long-term impact from her conditions. If an operation is not performed, she may suffer from extreme activity intolerance, limited growth potential, and decreased life expectancy. If this condition remains untreated, Malica will remain at risk for inadequate oxygen to the brain, which will increase her risk for stroke in the future.
Dr. Tony found a cardiac surgeon in Haiti who has the necessary facility and skills to perform the operation. The next step is to send Malica to see this surgeon, so he can do a read of her live echocardiogram images and determine the exact procedure to perform. Dr. Tony has estimated that the visit (including transportation) and the aftercare will cost about $600 USD. The cost of the procedure itself will be free because the surgeon that Dr. Tony found works for another nonprofit that is funding the surgery, but we still need to raise the money for the transportation, appointments, and other treatments before and after the surgery.
Due to the high cost of their children’s education, small household income, and lack of extended family support, Malica’s family is unable to pay for this lifesaving procedure. A single American dollar goes a very long way in Haiti and can drastically improve the lives of Malica and her entire family. We are asking for your donations to fund Malica’s visit with this cardiac surgeon, her procedure, and the aftercare, which will allow her to lead a long and fulfilling life.
Malica’s story is just one of the many opportunities that arise to provide life-changing medical care to a community member. This fundraiser will raise money to not only cover Malica’s medical procedure and recovery, but also give us the ability to take on similar cases in the future. The YSI medical system is focused on primary care. However, in instances where helping to save someone’s life also greatly benefits that person’s family and can provide great hope for an easier future for an entire sector of our community, we want to be able to invest in these solutions. Donating to this fund will prepare us for our summer expedition to Haiti and ensure the health of Malica and people just like her!
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