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Haitians Boys Survive Life-Saving Heart Surgery at Montefiore

The devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 may have actually saved the lives of 12-year-old Robins Dorisca and four-year-old Kensley Gerome.

Around the time of the calamity, both boys were feeling lethargic and were unable to participate in their usual activities, and since so many doctors traveled to Haiti in the aftermath of the natural disaster, both boys received checkups that revealed heart murmurs.

It was discovered that the boys had Tetralogy of Fallot, a type of heart defect that if untreated, would have prevented the boys from living into their teens.

The condition is treatable with surgery and patients with the condition who have had surgery are expected to live normal, healthy lives.

Since there are no hospitals in Haiti that could perform the type of surgery that Dorsica and Gerome, they had to be flown to New York City, where they received life-saving surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore on Wednesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 18.

The operation was orchestrated by Rotary International and the Surgeons of Hope Foundation.

“I was very happy after the surgery,” Robins Dorsica said. “A lot of the things I couldn’t do, now I can do. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t play, I couldn’t eat well.”

Robins can still remember the moment the earthquake hit.

“It wasn’t good for us at all,” he said. “I was in the house, and things started shaking.”

Each boy’s mother accompanied them on the trip to New York and all four spoke through Montefiore nurse practitioner Martine Bouzi, who could communicate in both English and Creole.

“From the quake, it didn’t do us well, we couldn’t live afterwards,” said Robins’ mother Manoucheka Marc. “But since we’ve been here I feel like I’m living.”

“I was elated,” said Kensley Gerome’s mother Margaritte Faustin about finding out that she would be taking her son to Montefiore for surgery. “We don’t have the possibility of doing this in Haiti.”

The boys were chosen for the surgery because they were considered to have a good chance of survival once they received it.

Dr. Francois LaCour-Gayet performed the surgery and is the chief of pediatric heart surgery at Montefiore. The French native is considered one of the top heart surgeons in the world.

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