Dr. Pran Kundi holds a three-year-old boy he treated during two weeks spent in Haiti working with Mission of Hope. He called it an overwhelming experience.
WELLAND – Dr. Pran Kundi has not forgotten the child who stole his heart.
In the months since returning from Leveque, Haiti, in February, the Welland-based family physician has been trying to find more information about the child he met while working with Mission of Hope.
Initially, he didn’t even know the name of the two- or three-year-old boy from an impoverished family — a boy he treated for mitral valve incontinence, a life-threatening condition that developed as a result of a bacterial infection.
With the help of Chelsea Pondt, a nurse he worked with during the two weeks he spent in Haiti, Kundi learned the name of the child — Danska Gilbes.
Kundi also learned that Danska has not received the care he required.
Before he left Haiti, Kundi left instructions that Danska would need treatment from a cardiologist. But the cardiologist Kundi booked the child an appointment with refused to see him.
“He said he doesn’t see children,” Kundi said. “It tells you the level of sensitivity (the cardiologist) has. At least he could have made a presumptive diagnosis and then told us what was needed to confirm it.”
To send Danska to see a pediatric cardiologist would mean a half-days journey and cost more than the impoverished family could afford, Kundi said, adding there is no OHIP-equivalent available in Haiti.
But Kundi has not given up and doing everything he can to help his young patient living 2,700 km away.
Ideally, he said, Danska would receive daily antibiotics until he’s about 18.
“But we do not know how this could be accomplished on a daily basis.”
Although Kundi described the child’s mother as “very sensible” and “caring,” and “very cognizant of her child’s symptoms,” he said the family is “amongst the very low socio-economic strata” of Haiti, an island nation devastated by the 2010 earthquake.
The mother, he added, will not be able to pay to provide Danska with the care he needs.
Kundi plans to continue reaching out to help that child.
“I feel very touched that he’s come into my life,” he said. “I have told the mission that I am prepared to look after this child.”
He’s currently working with Mission of Hope in the hope of admitting Danska into The School of Hope — the mission’s “very well run boarding school where he will have nutritious, clothing, good hygiene education and medical care.”
Kundi said he’s committed to ensuring Danska’s needs are met through out high school and college.
He said he’d considered working towards bringing the child to Canada where he could get the treatment he needs, but did not want to seperate him from his family.
“Taking him out of his family structure is like uprooting a young shoot from the parent tree, and this would be very emotional trying time for this child and may not be in his best interest.”