Santia's Story: Life-Changing Brain Surgery for Haitian Girl

When Santia Baptiste, a 12-year-old girl from Saint Michel in Haiti, started having problems seeing the board at her school, her teachers and family realized something was wrong. Initial testing revealed Santia had a tumor that was pushing on the frontal lobe of her brain.

The tumor, which was benign, had also begun to compress her left eye socket, causing a physical protrusion along with loss of eyesight.

(Photo Caption: Santia Baptiste, 12, is examined by Vitaly Siomin, M.D. as Rev. Gueillant Dorcinvil translates)

Santia got the attention of the Rev. Gueillant Dorcinvil, a Chaiplan at Baptist Health South Florida and President of Living Hope Haiti Christian Mission. Through the Baptist Health Compassionate Care Program, Santia was brought to Baptist Hospital for a life-changing surgery.

Neurosurgeon Vitaly Siomin, M.D., Medical Director of the Brain Tumor Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, performed a craniofacial resection to remove the tumor and improve the position of her eye. The procedure, which lasted almost nine hours, was a success, according to Dr. Siomin. He says Santia has regained the vision in her left eye, and is still in the process of building up her range of motion in the areas affected by the tumor.

Without this surgery, Dr. Siomin says, Santia could have lost her vision completely, suffered from double vision or even seizures. Her self-esteem was also boosted since her physical appearance is returning to normal.

After spending over a month recovering in Miami, Santia has been cleared to go back to her home in Haiti. Santia says she is eager to spend time with her family, especially her mother. She did tell us that she will miss the rice, beans and vegetables prepared at Rev. Dorcinvil’s house.

Watch the video below to see and hear more about Santia’s Story from Dr. Siomin:

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