Thursday, March 15, 2007

Katina (1995- )

Katina [1995- ]
January 11th, 2007
by Dr. John A. Carroll

Katina is a 12 year old Haitian girl who lives in an area of Port-au-Prince called Martissant. She lives in a two room house with a cement floor and a good roof. The house is clean, especially by Haitian standards, and she eats everyday. They have lived there for about two years.

Katina’s family moved to Martissant after they moved from another area in of Port-au-Prince called Nazon. Her father had a little store in that house where he sold odds and ends. However, there was much political unrest and violence on the streets in Nazon that eventually caused him to move his family to Martissant. They left just in time, because shortly after moving, someone set Katina’s home on fire in Nazon and destroyed it.

Katina’s mother and father really love her and vice versa. She has a few brothers and sisters. She goes to school, until before Christmas, when the schools in Port-au-Prince closed due to the kidnappings of school children in the city. Her school tuition is paid for by the students at St. Thomas Grade School in Peoria.

I first met Katina in 2000 when her father brought her to me for a heart problem. She had a leaky mitral valve due to rheumatic fever and also, just as importantly, she has full blown sickle cell anemia.

Haitian Hearts brought Katina to OSF in early 2002 where her mitral valve was repaired. She did very well postoperatively, even with the sickle cell anemia. She stayed with my brother and sister-in-law and their five kids in Peoria.
After surgery, Katina asked me everyday when I was going to take her back to her parents in Haiti. With her seven year old mind, she probably did not think she was that far away from home, because Haiti is only 90 minutes by air from Miami. She has a grandmother that lives about 90 miles from PAP that takes her 6 hours by public transportation to visit. The roads in Haiti are not great.

I have examined Katina multiple times since I took her back to Haiti several years ago. She will need her mitral valve reoperated.

If OSF stays the course, they will reject this little girl also. I may not find another good pediatric medical center for her. The OSF physicians and nurses know her very well and her sickle cell anemia makes her a “tougher” case. The individuals that run the heart-lung bypass machine at OSF are terrific with the complicated Haitian kids.

Jackson and Maxime, mutual patients of Haitian Hearts and OSF, have died within the last 12 months. We don’t want Katina to suffer the same fate. We do not want her abandoned in Haiti.

Any thoughts out there how to spur OSF in Peoria into the correct moral, ethical, and medical actions on behalf of Katina before it becomes too late?

John A. Carroll, M.D.

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