Life-saving surgery performed on Haitian orphan

Long Island doctors gave a 17-month-old Haitian orphan the gift of life for the holidays. Dr. Lionel Barrau of St. Francis Hospital, a native Haitian himself, found Patricia in an orphanage while visiting

News 12 Staff

Dec 20, 2007, 12:39 AM

Updated 6,055 days ago

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Long Island doctors gave a 17-month-old Haitian orphan the gift of life for the holidays.
Dr. Lionel Barrau of St. Francis Hospital, a native Haitian himself, found Patricia in an orphanage while visiting his homeland. The sick girl had been abandoned on the doorstep of a government hospital.
Barrau discovered that many of the children, including Patricia, were sick. "They said she can't breathe, she has heart disease. I listened to her heart," says the doctor. It was later arranged for the girl to receive medical care in the U.S.
Pediatric cardiologist Sean Levchuck performed the surgery on the girl and says her days were numbered without medical assistance.
"I don't think she would have made it the next couple of years," says Levchuck. Patricia's heart was working 85 to 90 percent harder than necessary and wasn't delivering the proper amount of blood to the girl's lungs, according to Levchuck.
A catheter was inserted through a vein in Patricia's leg and a balloon was inserted to open up her heart valve. "We ended up making it easier for this chamber to pump blood all the way to lungs to oxygenate blood better," says Levchuck.
The toddler will return to Haiti when her recuperation is completed. Once there, she'll be eligible for adoption.
For extended interviews with Patricia's doctors, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.


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