Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Haitian Hearts Patients

This week, on the same day, I examined three new patients with congenital heart problems.

I will describe two of the cases. (My satellite signal for the internet is weak right now. I will load pictures of the kids as soon as the signal improves.)

The first patient is five month old Merlinda. She lives with her mom and dad just north of Port-au-Prince.

Merlinda had a fever of 101.5 F and a heart rate of 180/minute. However, she did not appear to be in any respiratory distress. She avidly took her mother's breast. I think her fever was from a recent vaccination.

Merlinda appeared quite healthy.

Her exam revealed a loud blowing murmur to the left of her sternum that radiated everywhere across her chest. The murmur was classic for a hole between the lower chambers of her heart (ventricular septal defect).

Sometimes these holes can "heal themselves", but the location of this hole is up high on the septum and not as amenable to seal over on its own.

So Haitian Hearts will begin its search for a medical center to evaluate and possibly operate Merlinda.

The second patient is Jimi.

Jimi is 5 years old and weighed 17 kilograms. He was brought to me by his father.

Last August, during the hurricaine season, heavy rains caused the river to rise near their home. Their home was flooded, a wall was destroyed, and they lost their garden. Both Jimi and his father are rail thin.

Jimi's heart exam was the same as Merlinda's above.

Jimi was so sweet and did not say a word.

We will do our best with Jimi too. His father has already started on Jimi's passport.

If any one out there in cyberspace has any connections with pediatric medical centers for these two kids, we really need your help.


Dr. John

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