San Quintin, Baja California Norte
Clinical Services Choices:
Cardiac Surgical Capabilities (Cases not involving cardiopulmonary bypass)
Infants and children up to age of 18
Flor Estrella Luis Sanchez is a 9 year-old female who lives in San Quintin, Baja California Norte, Mexico. She was born there in September of 2004. It was recognized at birth that she suffered a severe cardiac abnormality with a single ventricle, and she was referred to a pediatric cardiology clinic in central Mexico. There, she underwent an angiogram at five months of age, which revealed a single cardiac ventricle. The mother returned several times with Flor to that clinic in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, but was finally told that nothing could be done for her daughter.
I first saw Flor in our clinic in March of 2008, after which I attempted to seek help for her. In July of 2008, she was taken to Ensenada, Baja North, Mexico for an ultrasound. This ultrasound was presented to Dr. Janos, pediatric cardiologist at Sutter Hospital in Sacramento. He reviewed the tape and felt that Flor had Heterotaxy Syndrome with absence of the spleen, and pulmonary stenosis. He recommended that Flor receive the pneumococcal vaccine due to her lack of a spleen, and also be placed on prophylactic Amoxicillin. Flor received the pneumococcal vaccine and has been maintained on the Amoxicillin. Dr. Janos mentioned that the pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Sutter was new to the area and would probably hesitate to operate on Flor. He further stated that she should have an angiogram before surgery, and referred me to Dr. David Teitel, a pediatric cardiologist at UCSF.
Dr. Teitel stated that an angiogram alone would cost $21,000 and no funds were available for that. He referred me to Dr David Bernstein, a pediatric cardiologist at Stanford and again, lack of funds halted further attempts to help Flor.
Since age one, Flor has remained active and runs with her sister. I have been following her for two years and during that time, she has suffered two ear infections which responded to Erythromycin tablets. She is also given pediatric vitamins year round, and is current on childhood innoculations. As with most cardiac-compromised children, she has not gained weight, but has grown slightly in height.
One cardiologist suggested a heart transplant for Flor and another thought she might survive until the start of puberty without any intervention. At each of our clinics, she arrives with a bright smile on her face and an eagerness to give all of us a big hug.
Bill McDavid, M.D.
Flying Samaritan, Mother Lode Chapter