Veloune's Harrowing Journey for Cardiac Care

Veloune could not catch her breath. Her chest ached, and her abdomen was enlarged. From their home in Cavallon (more than an hour’s drive from SBH), Veloune’s daughter worried. She knew her mother had issues with her heart, and she hadn’t been taking her medication regularly. Without immediate help, she feared her mother would die.

It was February, and roadblocks and protests throughout Haiti made many of the roads impassable. Would it even be possible for Veloune and her daughter to get through? The pair managed to hire a car to make the journey, and their fears were soon laid to rest. Despite passing through several unstable areas, it wasn’t long before Velune and her daughter saw SBH in the distance.

Veloune was rushed to the emergency room, where Dr. Claudy Joseph and his team went into immediate action. But her condition began deteriorating quickly—and then her heart stopped.

Dr. Joseph quickly performed CPR, which started her heart again. Over the next several hours, her blood pressure remained low and she suffered from cardiogenic shock—a condition in which her heart could not pump enough blood to meet her body’s needs. Veloune was then diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump as much blood as it should. Over the next week, Dr. Joseph monitored his patient closely and administered medication to treat her condition. Soon, Veloune began to stabilize and show signs of improvement. She was finally out of danger. 

After a week of observation, Veloune was discharged and continued to follow up with our internal medicine team for care. “My mother was sick before coming here,” Veloune’s daughter told us. “When we arrived at the hospital the team in the emergency room team took charge right away. It was truly the care that she was given here that saved her life. The healthcare we found here was incredible.”

Each year, thousands of people in southern Haiti suffer from cardiac conditions and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). In fact, rates of morbidity and mortality attributed to NCDs have rapidly risen across the country. Without access to emergency and surgical care, these conditions can be a death sentence. That’s why at HEI/SBH, we’re working every day to increase access to our high-quality care, so patients like Veloune can lead healthy and productive lives.