Fourteen-year old José started feeling sick about a year and a half ago. He told his parents he felt sudden rapid pounding heartbeats and lightheadedness. His parents were worried and took him to see a doctor who prescribed medication to treat the symptoms, but these did not make him feel better. José Enrique realized his symptoms were becoming more frequent and he had to stop many of his daily activities, including physical education class at school. His frequent dizziness and tachycardia also affected his mood and hindered his performance at school.

His parents, Oscar and Maria, decided to consult a cardiac specialist. Dr. Jamel Cano at Fundacor ordered extra diagnostic exams. On the basis of these exams, José Enrique was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which is a cardiac condition present at birth where abnormal electrical pathways between the heart’s upper and lower chambers disrupt the heart's normal rhythm. Dr. Cano admitted José Enrique to Incor Hospital because he needed ablation surgery.

José Enrique and his two older siblings live with their parents in Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. They rent two bedrooms in a brick house and cook their food outside in the yard in a make-shift tent. They share a latrine and septic tank with other renters. José Enrique’s father works as a carpenter making roughly U$140 a month. His mother also works, earning about US$ 80 a month. Despite both of them working, their joint income barely covers the family’s basic needs. With this precarious economic situation, Oscar and Maria were not able to cover the costs of the heart surgery their youngest son so urgently needed. They had already made the extraordinary and costly effort to bring José Enrique to Santa Cruz for the diagnostic exam which set them back even more. Not only had they travelled almost 500 kilometers, but they were also paying for logging and food in Santa Cruz. The additional medical costs were simply out of reach.

At Incor Hospital, Oscar, Maria, and José Enrique learned about Puente de Solidaridad’s Children’s Heart Program. After a few meetings and a socioeconomic diagnostic, Puente de Solidaridad’s social worker determined that José Enrique was eligible for the Program.

Dr. Velarde performed ablation surgery on October 4, 2018, at Incor Hospital. A day later, José Enrique was discharged. He is expected to recover fully and promptly, to be able to continue with school, and to lead a healthy full life.

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