by Brianna Wilson, medical program manager in Haiti
April, 2013 —When five-year-old Petit Clona arrived at the Samaritan’s Purse medical clinic in CitÃ© Soleil, Haiti our triage staff knew immediately that she was extremely ill. The clinic’s Haitian physicians and a Canadian volunteer doctor soon discovered that Clona had heart failure. If she was going to live, she would need surgery right away.
Healthcare services in Haiti are limited and very difficult for anyone to navigate, let alone a family from the most destitute neighborhood in the Western Hemisphere. In North America, if this same child was sick, a pediatrician or pediatric cardiologist would have been summoned. The little girl would have been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit and would have undergone multiple diagnostic tests, stat. (‘Stat’ in the medical world is short for the Latin word statim, meaning ‘immediately.’ In Haiti however, it seems few problems are able to be solved stat— including many medical emergencies.
First, we had to decide which hospital was likely to accept Clona. In Haiti, people with serious illnesses are often turned away from medical facilities, either because they can’t afford their required tests, or because advanced treatment is unavailable. But, praise God, after many phone calls, emails, and much advocacy, Clona was admitted to a local hospital and examined by a visiting pediatric cardiologist.
Partnering with another Christian organization, we were able to send Petit Clona and her mother to a hospital in the Dominican Republic. After a few weeks of being nourished and strengthened for the operation, Clona underwent surgery. Overcoming the odds, this brave little girl recovered completely.
Today we had the opportunity to visit her for the first time since she returned to Haiti. She was all smiles, noticeably chubbier and more playful. Without the surgery, Clona wouldn’t have survived. Thankfully, we were able to diagnose her condition and help her family navigate the complex healthcare system.
While Clona and her mother were in the Dominican, her baby sister wasn’t being breastfed and her father couldn’t afford formula. Through our clinic’s formula program, we were able to supply food for the baby while mom was away, helping her stay strong and healthy.
Amazingly, the story doesn’t even end there. Clona’s mom was not a Christian prior to these events, but has now accepted Christ and is looking forward to being baptized. She credits God with healing her little girl.
She has also asked to be trained in microfinance, which will empower her to run a small business to help support her family.
Stories like this are not unique here in CitÃ© Soleil, Haiti. Please pray for those in similar situations who require both medical care for their bodies and Jesus Christ in their hearts.
Your donation to Medical Care Projects helps Samaritan’s Purse Canada meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people around the world providing funds for life-saving medical equipment and surgical assistance, disease prevention initiatives and community health programs and training opportunities. We also offer spiritual support and eternal hope by meeting these critical needs while sharing the love of Christ.