On February 25th, Sonje Ayiti's Chemin Lavi Miyo (Pathway to a Better Life) beneficiaries and their family members were seen by medical staff from Ouanaminthe Community Health Center at a mobile clinic held at Cima School in Northern Haiti. Jodeline Seraphin, a 9 year old girl, was brought to the clinic by her parents. We were devastated when we saw Jodeline. Two years ago, she was a kindergartner at Cima School of Hope, but she had not returned to school. When the social worker visited her family to inquire about her, she was never seen.
Jodeline is unable to walk, is obviously severely malnourished, and has horrifying sores on her legs. Her parents informed us that she has been in this condition for a long time. They had been taking her to local voodoo doctors trying to cure her. In their lack of education, they believed her illness was the result of being cursed.
The next day we took her to the Ouanaminthe Hospital where she was diagnosed with tuberculosis, malnutrition, artrogyposis, and chronic osteomyelitis. The osteomyelitis is a chronic bone infection. Artrogyposis is the stiffening of her joints. Both are the cause for her inability to walk. X-rays showed that her femur is severely damaged by infection and multiple surgeries will be needed.
The doctors immediately put Jodeline on IV antibiotics to begin treating her infection. However, due to the severity of her illness, it was recommended that she be taken to a hospital in Port au Prince that is better equipped to treat her. After four days of IV antibiotics, she was sent home with oral antibiotics until she could be taken to Port au Prince.
Due to the extremely dangerous political situation in Port au Prince, where kidnappings for ransom are rampant, we decided it would be safest to fly from Cap Haitian to PaP. On Thursday March 4, Jodeline, her mom, Gabie (Chief Executive Officer of Sonje Ayiti Organization), and Nurse Florestal flew to PaP. Jodeline was admitted to Grace Children’s Hospital, her mom stayed by her side, and Gabie and Nurse Florestal stayed in a hotel. (Side note, when Jodeline’s mother presented her own birth certificate for the flight, it showed that she is only 24 years old. Barely 14 when she gave birth to Jodeline.)
Jodeline’s mother, Gabie, and Nurse Florestal returned to Cap Haitian on Saturday. It was difficult for her mother to leave Jodeline, but she has a younger daughter at home that she must take care of. SAO purchased two phones so that Jodeline can speak to her mother, but it that did not make leaving any easier.
Over the next few days, the medical team at Grace Children’s Hospital reviewed Jodeline’s case. The team includes the General Doctor, Pediatrician, Head Nurse, Tuberculosis Director, Medical Director, and Orthopedist. They decided she is too malnourished and anemic to proceed with surgeries now.
Friday, March 12th, Jodeline was seen by Dr. Duverseau, a renowned orthopedist. He recommends continuing the antibiotics, and a diet rich in protein to improve her general condition. He plans to operate. A minimum of two surgeries are needed to remove the infections from her bones, but she must be stronger with increased hemoglobin before surgery is possible. He believes there is hope of Jodeline being able to walk again but it will take time and much physical therapy. She has a long and challenging road ahead of her.
The doctors believe she will need to be in the hospital for at least 3 months, and more likely for 6 months and up to a year. Tuberculosis treatment is covered by the Ministry of Health, but many of the other treatments are not. Grace Hospital is covering some of the expenses, but not all. We are unsure of how much Jodeline’s care will cost. These have been the expenses so far: Ouanaminthe Hospital 53,000 Gourdes $676 US. Food & Misc in Ouanaminthe 5,468 Gourdes $70 US. 3 round-trip CAP/PAP/CAP $660 US. One way to PaP $110 US. 2 nights stay hotel $200 US. Meals for 4 in Port au Prince $65. Hospitalization fee 2,500 Gourdes $32 US Basic meds 10,023 Gourdes $128 US. Deposit at hospital for various needs 20,000 Gourdes $255 US. 2 smartphones $240 US. Monthly Natcom pre-paid for 2 phones 2,000 Gourdes $25.53 US per month. Total $2461.53 US
This, of course, is only the beginning. With many unknowns. We do not know exactly how long she will be in the hospital, how many surgeries will be needed, what physical therapy will cost, or what the doctors and hospital will charge. We have been unable to find another organization willing to step in and help with her expenses. What we do know is that this is beyond the budget of Sonje Ayiti Organization.
All donations made will be designated specifically for Jodeline’s care. The money will be held by SAO in the US and wired down to the SAO office in Haiti as needed. 100% of all donations will go towards Jodeline’s care. There will be 100% accountability for every dollar spent.
If we raise more than is needed for Jodeline’s care, those funds will be held in a Medical Emergency Account to be used only for the inevitable next Haitian served by Sonje Ayiti Organization who needs serious medical intervention.
We need many compassionate and generous people to step up so that Jodeline has the possibility for a healthy life. Can you help Jodeline?