For cardiac surgeons at Health City, helping provide life-changing surgeries for children in some of the world’s poorest countries brings with it a certain satisfaction.
In the hospital’s two years, it has helped more than 70 Haitian children, with help from the Haiti Cardiac Alliance and Have a Heart Cayman.
Right now, three more Haitian cardiac patients are on-island receiving care otherwise unavailable in their home country.
Nurse Abigail Jebamini makes her rounds at Health City, checking in with 15-year old Benjamin Baptiste – who’s recuperating from what Dr. Sripadh Upadhya described as a relatively simple intervention.
“What I did was open the valve with a balloon, it’s called balloon pulmonary valve opening, and most likely it’s a permanent cure,” explained Dr. Upadhya.
Dr. Upadhya told Cayman 27 he finds a special satisfaction in helping patients like these Haitian children, who lack access to even the most basic health care.
“Most of them don’t have enough food and water to drink and safe water or food to eat,” said Dr. Upadhya. “Most of these kids, if left untreated, they will die prematurely, especially in a country like Haiti, they will die because of infection and malnutrition.”
18-month old Miloury Jeudy must get over her cold before her procedure. Dr. Upadhya said without a device to correct her rare heart condition, she would likely die of pneumonia and heart failure.
“I’m doing a device for her. It’s an intervention and it’s a very rare procedure, so hopefully it goes well and she will lead a normal life,” said Dr. Upadhya.
Dr. Upadhya said he’s seen the need in-person, traveling to Haiti for heart screenings with the Haiti Cardiac Alliance.
“Our next goal is doing one every day,” he said.
He told Cayman 27 Health City has ambitious plans to help more underprivileged children like Miloury get the life-changing surgeries they need.
“It is achievable and we have the drive and the capacity, definitely, to reach our goal. We are definitely going in the right direction,” said Dr. Upadhya.
He told Cayman 27 for these patients, life will forever be changed.
“The most important thing is now the children are normal, they grow well, and they’ll be like a normal child, they can go to the school. Most of these children are staying at home because of their illness,” said Dr. Upadhya. “Now they can go to the schools, now they can enjoy life as a normal kid.”
When these children have fully recovered from their surgeries, they will be flown back to Haiti.
According to the Haiti Cardiac Alliance, more than 400 Haitian children are waiting to have heart surgeries overseas.