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Healing the Children

Victoire from Côte d’Ivoire


18-month old Victoire from the Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa was brought to the United States by another NGO for treatment of a terrible tumor over her left eye. Unfortunately, once Victoire was in the United States, they found themselves in over their heads. They learned too late that she was suffering from tuberculosis, and the sponsoring hospital backed out, concerned that the case was too difficult.

The Kentucky Chapter of Healing the Children along with our partners at Kosair Children's Hospital agreed to step in and help, but not until the TB infection was under control. Months later, it finally was and the surgeons at Kosair came through.

Victoire underwent surgery by neurosurgery and ophthalmology teams to remove the cyst. She was sent home to her host family, but developed a CSF leak into the eye. In the circumstances, this was not too surprising and she was readmitted to place an external ventricular drain in order to drain fluid from the brain and give the leak into the eye time to heal. The procedure was successful and the drain was removed approximately two weeks later. Lesions in her brain were determined to be caused by tuberculosis and were not cancerous.

Victoire's tumorVictoire's surgery

Victoire will be fitted with a prosthetic eye once she has had more time to heal from the surgery. The rest of her care will be handled by the ophthalmology department at the original sponsoring hospital. Eventually, Victoire will return home to her family in Côte d’Ivoire with her main medical issues under control. The eye under that awful looking tumor never was functional, so even the prosthetic will be an improvement to help her look more normal and be better accepted back home.

This was a difficult case that illustrates many of the challenges that can be encountered when working with desperately ill children from abroad. Fortunately, the experience and diligence of the Kentucky Chapter, the support of our national organization, and the skill and professionalism of our medical partners at Kosair were up to the challenge. For one little girl and her family, that means all the world.

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