Monday, December 05, 2005

Haitian Hearts Patients

Besides trying to find a hospital for Jackson—he’s doing better, but he’s still a very sick young man—we have four other patients who’ve been accepted at hospitals and we’re working on the frustrating, mind-numbing, bureaucratic details of getting them up here:

Raphaella is a 6-year-old girl who was badly burned over her face and upper body when a propane tank exploded last January. She has been accepted at a hospital in Boston. We have the paperwork from the hospital and an American friend of ours, who lives here, is working on getting Raphaella and her mother American visas. Hopefully, they will be coming to the States before Christman.

Emmanual is a 14-month-old baby who weighs 10 lbs. No, that’s not a typo. Emmanual is going to an Ohio hospital to have a congenital heart defect surgically corrected. We are in the process of getting him a host family and a visa to travel to the magic land.

Faustina, a 12-year-old girl who has been to the States for surgery before, has been accepted by a Joliet-area hospital. She needs a new heart valve. Faustina’s passport has expired, so we’re trying to get her a new one. When she gets it, and we receive the paperwork from the hospital, we will proceed with the visa process.

Widner, a toddler, has been accepted at a hospital in Guatemala City founded by the great pediatric heart surgeon, Dr. Aldo Castaneda. Widner and his mother have passports and the hospital is working on his Guatemalan visa.

The precious U.S visa is the common denominator for getting children out of Haiti. This entails working with the American consulate in Port-au-Prince. Earlier in the year, the consulate sent all its non-essential staff home, so they’ve been working with a skeleton crew. Everyone’s back now, so hopefully, we will be able to expeditiously get the visas we need. In order to grant a visa, the consulate requires letters from hospitals and doctors stating that they are donating their care and that no public monies will go toward the treatment of the Haitian children.

There are a bunch of other awful details I won’t bore you with. Suffice to say, we have to deal with two governments, one of them of a Third World country. We are fortunate to have people in PAP help us with this time consuming process.

No comments: