THE STORY OF HERMANO
A Miracle in Haiti - One Little Boy's Journey
One year ago, while examining children in our malnutrition program at our Shada clinic, Dr. Jill Ratner examined a very ill nine month old baby boy named Hermano, who weighed only nine
pounds, the size of a two month old. He was breastfeeding well and being fed medika mamba, a high protein supplement used to treat malnutrition, but nevertheless he remained severely malnourished, struggling to breathe and failing to grow. He also had a very loud heart murmur. It was clear to Dr. Ratner that Hermano was in congestive heart failure. Hermano most likely had a large hole between two sides of his heart, a condition easily repaired in other countries, not so easy in Haiti.
Without help, Hermano, like so many other children in Haiti without access to quality medical care, would die. His family could not afford medical care; they were praying for a miracle.
With your help
, HUFH became that miracle
: Through the HUFH Hospitalization and Surgery Fund
, we immediately arranged to cover the medical and surgical costs for Hermano, as we do for other children with life threatening illnesses. Hermano was hospitalized and treated for his heart failure, while we searched for a way to get him his surgery. Hands Up for Haiti reached out to the Haiti Cardiac Alliance, a nonprofit organization that arranges heart surgery for children like Hermano.
Over the eight months awaiting this surgery, Hermano was treated for multiple infections and pneumonia, hospitalized several times, and received all the medications he needed, all thanks to the HUFH Hospitalization and Surgery Fund
. He was followed closely by our in-country medical team and seen by several volunteer pediatricians during our medical missions. We
all waited anxiously for word that he could finally get his surgery.
In April of this year, the miracle occurred and Hermano had his surgery in the Cayman Islands: his heart was successfully repaired and he is back in Haiti with his mother and family. At the beginning of June, Dr. Ratner returned to Haiti to examine Hermano: he looks like a different child, a healthy toddler able to play, grow and explore - a toddler alive and well.
Together, with your generous support, we all saved Hermano: our donors and volunteers,
the medical team that initially diagnosed him, our incountry staff that made sure he received the necessary care before surgery and our partners such as Haiti Cardiac Alliance. As Dr. Ratner says:
"There is more to medicine than just showing up and seeing patients. For all the patients we treat with common place infections of the skin, intestines and lungs, these children are the real reason why we are in Haiti. It is through our commitment - and that of our generous donors and volunteers - that this child has a chance to survive."
For every child, a chance to grow. To help these children, and others like them, DONATE HERE.
Not every child is as fortunate as Hermano. To read more about Hermano's journey and that of other children whose outcomes were tragically different, please click here to read Dr. Ratner's blog
IS ONE MIRACLE ENOUGH?
The Answer is Yes - and No.
Yes, every child deserves a miracle - the chance to get life-saving care. Hermano received that care, and today he is a thriving, active child. But No, it is a tragedy every time we lose a child who we did not reach in time.
This past year the HUFH Hospitalization and Surgery Fund treated 29 patients for illnesses including cancer, cardiac ailments, osteomyelitis, acute and potentially fatal malnutrition, colostomies, and encephalocoele. Eleven received surgery; the remainder were treated in hospital and by specialists. Some did not make it because we found them too late; despite out efforts, these children died. There are hundreds more who never make it to a medical clinic. A lack of money, poor transportation, or even just lack of hope that anything can be done to save their child, prevents them from reaching our clinics or any other clinics in Haiti. HUFH fights to save lives every time a critically ill child walks into one of our clinics. Through our outreach programs and our community workers who locate ill children within a community, HUFH is known to be an organization that can and will help.
HELP US TURN TRAGEDIES INTO MIRACLES: URGENT APPEAL
This year, HUFH referred 29 children for life saving care. Eleven needed surgery.
Because of the overwhelming need this past year and complicated cases like Hermano, HUFH's Surgical Care and Hospitalization Fund has been exhausted and is in desperate need of funds.
We are asking your help to save more children’s lives. Our fundraising goal is $15,000 which can help save twice as many children as last year -- $300 for a child's life.
A generous donor has offered to match up to $5000 to replenish the fund, and to help us get to these children sooner.
A WINNING PICTURE TELLS THE STORY
HUFH Photo Accepted for Competition
"Compelling Images of International Child Health"
HUFH's photograph, The Future is Theirs: Teaching Children About Water Safety and Cholera Prevention in Haiti, Where Waterborne Illnesses Cause More Than Half the Deaths in the Country Every Year, has been accepted for presentation during the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition. The photo was taken by Hunter Kittrell last fall while our water team was on the ground promoting water safety education in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, and will be presented by Dr. Allison Platt, HUFH team leader and Vice-President.
HUFH’s clean water project is a guarantee not just that lives are made easier and safer, but of healthier children and families. Education helps ensure this now – and in the future.
HUFH AT THE GLOBAL HEALTH EQUITY CONFERENCE
Working Together to Improve Access to Quality Health Care
Co-founders of HUFH, Drs. Jill Ratner and Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, attended the Global Health Equity Conference at Harvard earlier this month. The conference included presentations by leaders of Partners in Health, including Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who serves as an inspiration to many of our volunteers. The conference focused on innovative ways to deliver health care and focused on the many lessons learned in Haiti and other countries, information that we have shared with our team leaders and our staff on the ground. HUFH has been honored to work with the staff at Hospital Mirebalais, our tertiary care referral center in Haiti. This conference also provided an opportunity to discuss referrals of patients for advanced care with Drs. Fernet Leandre and Michelle Morse of Partners in Health.
To help us ensure access to health care for the poorest of the poor, DONATE HERE.
HUFH LEADERSHIP IN THE NEWS
Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento: Award for Service To Barnard College
At a ceremony held on June 2, Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, HUFH co-founder, President and Director of Global Health Education Program, was recognized for her service to Barnard College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts. In bestowing this award, Barnard emphasized Mary Ann's multi-faceted career as a pediatrician, filmmaker, and educator, and as a volunteer in the field of global health, where she introduces medical students and residents to the challenges of delivering health care to children in under-resourced countries such as Haiti. In the words of a classmate, Mary Ann "embodies the truism that those who do the most, give the most, and she does it all with professionalism, warmth, and grace.”
WORDS TO KEEP IN OUR HEARTS
"There is more to medicine than just showing up and seeing patients. . . It is through our commitment - and that of our generous donors and volunteers - that a child has a chance to survive." Dr. Jill Ratner
TOGETHER, this is what we can do for Haiti:
Children with access to quality medical care, children with a future.