Project Medishare | Case study revisited
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Case study revisited

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By Jennifer Browning

Casse, HAITI–Two-year-old Leo Yvenel was seen by Emory and Project Medishare’s mobile clinic when they visited Casse three weeks ago. Leo was diagnosed with a retinoblastoma which is caused by a tumor which forms in the eye. His grandmother noticed the eye swelling three months ago.

Leo returned today with the tumor much larger than what doctors had seen in previous weeks and now the area was bleeding. Dr. Richard Lee said Leo actually had a condition called rabdosarcoma that can become a metastasic tumor if it isn’t treated.

Unfortunately, Leo’s situation is not rare. There is an opthalmalogist that visits the hospital in nearby Cange, but the doctor can only visit a few times a year. Compounding this problem is simply the lack of resources the parents in the central plateau experience.

“It is not uncommon not only because of the lack of resources but also education of the parents,” Project Medishare Program Coordinator Gabrielle Denis said. “When I spoke with the grandmother she was saying that she doesn’t have money to bring the child to the hospital in Cange for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.These limitations of resources to get this child the proper care he needs is possibly costing this child his life. ”

Dr. Lee attended to the child by putting pressure on the tumor, applied an antibiotic cream and patched the area to reduce the bleeding and to prevent infection. The positive of the case seen today was that Leo’s left eye was in great condition after being tested. However, the doctor said that Leo’s condition was serious and that if something wasn’t done within a month, the child could very well die.

“The tumor is a surgical issue,” Dr. Lee said. “My concern is that there isn’t a surgical procedure here available to treat this child. It is no longer a sight threatening issue but a life threatening issue. This would be a difficult case to treat even in the States much less a place like Haiti.”

Dr. Lee recommended that Leo get a CT scan to see if the tumor had spread throughout the brain. Leo’s grandmother plans to take her grandson to Cange on Monday.

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Dr. Richard Lee along with medical resident Ted Leng examine Leo. Leo was diagnosed with rabdosarcoma which can become a metastatic tumor if it isn’t treated. Photos by Jennifer Browning