Team members met Gabriel and his mother Katia in 2017. They connected with them through a mutual acquaintance, a U.S. physician Dr John Carroll, who treated Katia for a life- threatening condition in 2003.
When Katia was young, she contracted strep throat, and like many Haitian children, she did not have access to medical care. Untreated strep often triggers an immune response that can cause many medical problems, including Rheumatic fever. This is exactly what happened to Katia. Her Rheumatic fever caused severe aortic heart insufficiency. Haitian doctors told her that there was nothing that could be done. She would die.
Then she met Dr John Carroll, who was volunteering in Haiti, something he has done for 35 years. He was able to give the then 21-year-old a different option. He located a hospital in the U.S. that was willing to perform a surgery to remove Katia’s diseased aortic valve and replace it with a mechanical one. Katia received the surgery in 2004 in the United States, and after recovery, returned to Haiti, married and had two children. Gabriel is her first born.
Gabriel was 8 years old when he joined the PieH program. He had been in school but his parents could no longer afford to pay tuition. Gabriel loves school. He interacts well with all of the students, and he is the top student in his class. His mother’s health remains frail, but she continues to try to work when she can find it, and is a wonderful attentive mother to her two children.
To learn more about Dr. Carroll and his organization, please go to http://www.haitianhearts.org.