jeudi 12 mai 2011

Austin group gives Haitian orphan second chance at life


Follow: @MorganC_KVUE
Posted on May 11, 2011 at 6:26 PM
AUSTIN, TX - She is thousands of miles from her hometown in Haiti. Wednesday Leonise Louima took her first nap with a healthy heart.
Her story is one of many that hundreds of volunteers make happen in Austin. For the first time in her life, 10-year-old Leonise Louima is living life, without a deadly heart defect.
"She's such a lovely girl," said Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Karen Wright. "She's come in with a beautiful spirit; you could just see it in the smile in her face."
Dr. Wright met a much sicker Leonise Monday at Dell Children's Medical Center. The Austin based Heartgift Foundation flew the orphan from Haiti to Austin for a chance to fix her heart for good.
Leonise suffered from Patent Ductus Arteriosis or P.D.A. It i s a defect usually caught during infancy that leaves a hole in the heart. Leonise's heart was one and a half times larger than a typical 10-year-old's. Every irregular beat brought heart failure closer.
Dr. Wright saved her life Wednesday morning when she inserted a plug through a vein that blocked the hole in her heart. The permanent plug now lets blood flow to all the right places.
Just an hour and a half later, Leonise napped in a hospital bed.
KVUE spoke to her Aunt Shella, the only family Leonise has left, through a Creole translator. She said she was very happy and thanks God.
As Leonise slept, a Creole serenade filled the room and the heart of a girl's life forever changed.
Leonise will spend a week with a host family before returning to Haiti courtesy of the Heart Gift foundation. Since 2000, the group has helped hundreds of children all over the world.

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