Haitian Child Undergoes Heart Surgery
Kellen T. Knott* - In January of 2010, Medical Teams International volunteer physician, Tom Martin of Portland, Oregon, while working at a medical clinic in Haiti identified a young girl, 15 year old Stephanie Privert, as a candidate for potentially lifesaving heart surgery in the United States.
When Dr. Martin identified Stephanie, she was underweight, had an extremely enlarged heart, and was taking several medications necessary in order to simply keep her alive. However, even with these medications, local doctors estimated that without a specialized kind of heart surgery that is not available in Haiti, Stephanie would have, at best, only a few more years to live.
Over the next several weeks, Tom Martin, along with several other volunteers worked tirelessly in their efforts to find some way to evacuate Stephanie to the United States for this ever so crucial operation. Through their efforts they were able to identify an agency, Healing the Children, with the specialized background necessary to aide with this evacuation process.
In the months following, Medical Teams International along with Healing the Children continued the work of trying to evacuate Stephanie to the United States. Together, we were able to complete the long and grueling process of making all the arrangements necessary to send her to the United States for this operation.
On June 28th, 2010 thanks to the efforts of many, Stephanie Privert, boarded an airplane in Port-au-Prince bound for Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. While at Kosair Children’s Hospital Stephanie will undergo a generously donated, specialized heart surgery that could potentially add several decades to her life.
The duration of this journey was long, and the roads we traveled were difficult, but by grace of God, we were able to assist in making a lasting impact in one young girl’s life.
*Note: The Author of this Article is Kellen T. Knott, Administration Manager, for Medical Teams International.