If one good thing came out of the earthquake one year ago in Haiti, it’s how Lovely Ajuste’s life will be saved.

Lovely, who will turn 16 in a week, is at Montefiore Children’s Hospital — where tomorrow she will undergo surgery to repair a hole in her heart.

Dr. Mahalia Desruisseaux first discovered Lovely’s hidden cardiac defect a year ago, when Desruisseaux returned to her native Haiti to help earthquake survivors. Lovely came to the doctor complaining that she had a cold, but it turned out to be something much worse.

“She came in with a cough and shortness of breath, but this was not an ordinary cold. She had an enlarged heart that, to me, showed that she had a cardiac condition,” said Desruisseaux, a professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Lovely’s weak heart meant she couldn’t go three blocks without gasping for air. Walking up and down stairs made her exhausted. She had to take naps every afternoon.

It took a year of cutting through red tape, but tomorrow, on the anniversary of the earthquake, Lovely will have an open-heart procedure that would be unthinkable in her homeland.

“Luckily, the defect is still reversible,” said Desruisseaux. “I needed to get her here because I knew that even under the best conditions in Haiti, even before the earthquake, there was no way she could get this repaired.”

“This is such a story of hope and hopefully good things to come.”

After this, it’s back to Haiti

If the surgery goes well, Lovely will return in good health to Port-au-Prince in a month. But it will be back to the tent camp where she, her mother, left, and four younger siblings live. The earthquake destroyed their house a year ago and it still hasn’t been rebuilt. “There is no transitional housing where people can go to,” said Desruisseaux. “It’s a public health nightmare to have all these people living in these crowded conditions with no sanitation.”