Monday, December 06, 2010



Please meet Widnerlande.

I will call her "W".

W is six years old and Haitian Hearts is taking her to California next week for heart surgery.

Maria and I first "discovered" her six years ago at a pediatric clinic in Laplaine. She had a loud heart murmur and a subsequent echocardiogram revealed a ventricular septal defect (VSD) which is a hole between the lower chambers of her heart which should not be there. This hole allows blood to flow the wrong way each heart beat and this is hard on heart and lungs.

VSD's are the most common congenital heart defect.

Maria has a friend in California and both were able to persist and find a pediatric heart surgeon and medical center to operate W.

W lives in the Artibonite with her mother. W has five brothers and sisters. Three of her brothers and sisters are in two different orphanages.

On January 12 the earthquake knocked over her house, so her mom and grandfather built a small room out of rocks. W lives in this room with her two remaining siblings and her mother and grandfather. They have a dirt floor, no water, and no electricity.

W appears quite good for what she has gone through. She is very playful and seems quite intelligent. However, her hair has an orange tint which is evidence of protein malnutrition. Her mother just cannot afford meat and eggs for W.

I asked her mother yesterday if she had W's vaccination card. Mother said it was lost several years ago during the hurricane season when four tropical storms or hurricanes flooded her home.
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