Friday, March 13, 2009

Looking Back...Haitian Hearts Will Continue Program

Peoria Journal Star
August 14, 2003


Haitian Hearts will continue its program -- Patients will be treated in the U.S. and elsewhere

PEORIA - Haitian Hearts will continue to bring heart patients from Haiti for treatment at hospitals in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere, its founder, Dr. John Carroll said Wednesday.

Carroll returned last week from Haiti where he arranged for two adult patients to be treated in the U.S. One is scheduled to receive a pacemaker at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, he said, and the other is to have heart valve surgery at a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital.

In July, OSF Healthcare System and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced they would no longer participate in the Haitian Hearts program.

Haitian Hearts has brought nearly 100 Haitians, mainly children, from Haiti to Peoria for medical treatment, mostly heart surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

On Tuesday, the last Haitian child in Peoria, a 10-year-old girl who has been in the U.S. since last year, received heart surgery at St. Francis, a follow-up to earlier surgery.

Carroll said the surgery went well.

Doctors, nurses and others who have cared for this child and other Haitians have expressed regret that the program is ending in Peoria, Carroll said. Some have donated their time and materials, and even offered to care for Haitian children in their homes while they recovered, he said.

Carroll said he now is working with others interested in Haiti, including the Mercy and Sharing Foundation, founded by philanthropist Susan Scott Krabacher. The organization operates an orphanage and medical center in Haiti. Its Web site is

Carroll said he hopes that up to 20 children soon will be placed in hospitals in the U.S., Canada and Europe for surgery. He has identified 38 who need surgery. A 19-year-old died while on the waiting list, he said.

Since December, St. Francis has refused to approve any visas for medical care for Haitian Hearts patients.

St. Francis fired Carroll in December 2001 from his job of 21 years as an emergency room physician after a dispute with hospital managers.


My comments today, March 12, 2009:

1. Haitian Hearts has had Haitian kids operated in New York, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio. My wife Maria and I travelled to Guatamala and met Dr. Aldo Castaneda in Guatamala City. He was considered the best pediatric heart surgeon in the world during his years in Boston. Dr. Castaneda and his team accepted a Haitian toddler with a ventricular septal defect to be operated in Guatamala.

2. And as mentioned in a previous post, we have brought or played a role in bringing about 150 kids to the States for surgery, usually cardiac.

3. Douglass Marshall, OSF's attorney, sent me a letter several years ago stating that OSF would not accept any patients from me. So far they are sticking to this unfair and deadly embargo of their own Haitian patients that need to return to OSF for follow up surgery. The Children's Hospital Advisory Board and the Children's Hospital International Committee must be in agreement with this policy because I have written them pleading for their help with no answer. Finding other medical centers to take care of OSF's Haitian kids that have been abandonded by OSF is not easy. Other medical centers that have accepted OSF's Haitian Hearts patients are not happy with OSF.

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