Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heureuse and Hurricane Gustav

Haitian Hearts is managing Heureuse’s congestive heart failure from 1,500 miles away.

Frandy, our contact in Port-au-Prince, took her to the General Hospital in the capital last week and the doctor suggested that Heureuse be admitted. However, Heureuse had no one to take care of her in the hospital, so she could not be admitted.

In Haiti, at large public hospitals such as the General Hospital, a patient needs a family member with them to assist them in the hospital. The family member would be responsible for obtaining food and water, bathing the patient, providing bed sheets and washing them, emptying the commode, and buying medications for the patient.

Heureuse’s family lives on Haiti’s southern coast in Benet and are not present in the capital. Heureuse's husband is dead and she has sent out her two small children to live in different parts of the country while she awaits death.

Incredibly, during the last few days, Heureuse has improved. She is breathing better and is able to do more. We have increased her furosemide and added a medication to control her blood pressure.

However, Hurricane Gustav hit Haiti pretty hard the other day and caused massive flooding and a quite a few deaths (according to Frandy) on the southern coast (near her family). And it has been much harder for Frandy to assist Heureuse because of the weather. Frandy has been providing Heureuse with food, water, and medications.

If she can survive this week, there is a possibility that Heureuse can get an echocardiogram next week. For her to have a chance of being accepted in the States, a cardiologist or surgeon needs to view her echocardiogram.

All of this seems so incredible. Heureuse is trying to survive congestive heart failure living in a shack alone with no money and not enough food and water. And Gustav hits Haiti with such force it stops 19 year old Frandy, another very poor Haitian who has a heart defect also, from helping her.

And OSF in Peoria precedes with its one half billion dollar medical campus expansion in a city that is 1/20th the size of Port-au-Prince.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein)

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