Blog Home

Medical Teams Blog: Stories of boldly breaking barriers to health

Sign up to receive the blog directly to your email inbox

Haiti: Taking Charge of Her Health

by Sarah Austria | May 03, 2016

Ketty labored to breathe. A usually slim woman, her weight had recently jumped to 240 pounds. But it wasn’t the added weight that was making it hard to breath. Ketty had a nerve condition, and her lungs simply weren’t working like they should.

Just two years ago, Ketty’s life was very different. She could breathe freely. Her muscles did what she wanted. She was healthy. Then, everything changed. Ketty, who lives in Cayes, Haiti, suffered an infection that caused a serious nerve disorder- polyneuropathy. The condition took over her entire body.

In just a few months, she lost nearly all use of her arms, legs, and trunk. She was almost completely immobile.

In Haiti, nearly 80% of people live on less than $2 per day.

Thankfully, there is treatment: physical therapy. However, it’s not quite that straightforward. It’s hard for patients with the disorder to move, causing additional health problems- like Ketty’s struggling lungs. In Haiti, many people with disabilities don’t receive the care they need, and most can’t find work. In Haiti, nearly 80% of people live on less than $2 per day. This makes physical therapy even more challenging.

But, thanks to your support, Ketty found help. At the clinic affiliated with Medical Teams International’s Haiti Advantage program, doctors put her on a ventilator to ease her strained breathing. Finally, she was in the care of doctors - but a long ways from good health.

Medical Teams International doctors next put her on a therapy regimen. At first, she couldn’t walk, even with the help of a walker. She had no control of her body - but she refused to quit. Day-in and day-out, Ketty and her doctors put in a tremendous amount of work on her physical therapy. Slowly, she made progress. After much hard work, her legs began to work again.

Once Ketty could walk, she wanted to run.

She entered a sports program at the clinic for people with obesity and became a star student. In just six months, she lost 65 pounds, significantly increased her muscle mass, and gained control over her blood pressure.Ketty_Haiti_Advantage_physicaltherapy

Ketty is an inspiration - especially to those at the clinic where she worked with her doctors so very hard to regain her health. Ketty went from nearly immobile and obese to strong and healthy, thanks to you - and some serious determination by Ketty.