Saving Diesel's Kidneys

Diesel had been sick with stomach pains for days. His mother, Simone, thought it would pass—but each day the pain became worse. One evening while Simone was tending to her son, she saw his eyes turn yellow, and he began to shake. Her stomach dropped, fearing for her youngest child, her only son.

Simone quickly took Diesel to their local clinic near their home in Paillant, a small village near the coast on the southern peninsula. Doctors there could not treat him and told the pair to go to St. Thérèse Hospital in Miragoâne. Simone hired a moto to take her and her son on the 20-minute ride to the hospital. But once there, the pair was turned away yet again. Another 40-minute moto ride brought them to a hospital in Petit Goâve. Once more, the hospital did not have the staff or resources to treat Diesel’s illness. The doctors told Simone and Diesel to seek care in Port-au-Prince instead. It took another three hours to the capital, and Simone was optimistic she would finally find help for her son’s pains. But once in Port-au-Prince, the cost of care was too high. Simone’s heart was broken. She had found help for Diesel, but she simply could not afford it.

A young Haitian boy props himself up in a hospital bed and smiles at the camera. His mother stands behind him, smiling.

But Simone was not ready to give up. She remembered SBH and the good care she had found there years earlier. Although it was far—more than a four-hour moto drive—she knew it was Diesel’s last hope. The rough roads jolted Diesel and sharpened his pains. It was difficult for him to keep holding on to hope.

Finally, the pair arrived at our Emergency Care Center. Dr. Dumerjuste administered an ultrasound and quickly found that Diesel had leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that caused an acute kidney injury. An acute kidney injury (also called acute kidney failure or acute renal failure) is a condition where the kidneys suddenly become unable to filter blood, causing dangerous levels of waste to build up in the bloodstream. Dr. Dumerjuste immediately gave Diesel a transfusion to provide him with healthy, filtered blood, and he administered antibiotics to clear Diesel’s infection. Over the next six days, the ER team closely monitored Diesel to ensure he regained normal kidney function. After a week of care, Diesel was feeling better and was healthy enough to go home. “Now he is doing so much better,” Simone said from Diesel’s bedside. “I’m so happy.”