Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Premium Health Care for Free

With the birth of each child, as parents, we want their life to be perfect and free of hardship, sickness and pain. However, this is never the case. This is life. When my oldest son was born everything went really well, and he was absolutely perfect. In fact, a man at church had told me when I was pregnant,

"This is your first child so there is something you should know, all babies are ugly. They look like aliens. "

After seeing my new baby a few weeks after he was born, he had to eat those words pretty fast. A year later my son started to walk. He was right on target with all his development. At first he walked normally, then around two years old he started walking on his toes. At first we thought it was cute, but as he got older it became the only way he would, or could walk. My pediatrician then said we would keep an eye on it. Later, when my son was five years old and preparing to go into elementary school, the doctor said it was time to see some specialists. After going to a Orthopedic Surgeon where we got X-rays, and a few visits to the Neurologist where a MRI was ordered and performed (one of the hardest things I've experienced with any of my children) he was diagnosed as an idiopathic toe walker. Idiopathic is a term given to something that is undefined in the medical world. It happens, but they don't know why. This was actually a relief because toe walking is most commonly linked to autism, cerebral palsy, or Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

At first we didn't know what to do with a diagnosis like that. The doctors all recommended physical therapy. We went through about a year of therapy with out any lasting progress. As my son got older he wanted to know what was wrong with him. It was hard to explain something unexplainable to a five year old. Other children, and even well meaning adults, began to ask him if he wanted to be a ballet dancer when he grew up, or why couldn't he just walk right? It started to effect him socially and mentally, and we knew we had to do something. At one point I changed pediatricians because we had moved and needed someone closer to our new home. My new Pediatrician asked me on the very first visit if I had ever heard of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. I remembered my mom had mentioned the Shiners having hospitals of some sort, but had been unable to find anything out with the little information I had. My doctor referred us to the Children's Hospital, we were accepted quicker than anyone anticipated, and we had an appointment just a month later.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital was founded in 1920 when a group of Masons approached Dallas’ first orthopedic surgeon Dr. W. B. Carrell about caring for children with polio regardless of the family’s ability to pay. That snow balled into the inclusion of other orthopedic conditions, and today they have treated over 190,000 children. The hospital is now one of the world leaders in the treatment of orthopedic conditions and treatments. They provide these services with donations from the community and generous sponsors and donors. Each patient and their family that comes through the hospital pays nothing. My experience there was awesome. As I said we were accepted right away. You have to be referred by a physician to be considered for acceptance. That is the only requirement. You don't have to be uninsured, and you don't even have to qualify in anyway financially to be a patient.

I don't know what I expected the first time I went. I suppose I thought more of an underfunded health clinic when I heard they don't ask for payments of any kind. I didn't expect to find the biggest and funnest playground I have ever seen right in front of the hospital. I didn't expect art work, sculptures, and cartoons playing on televisions through out the impeccably clean, huge, and technically advanced facility. I also didn't expect the excellent level of care they put into helping each and every patient that walks through the doors.

Because of my sons age and the extent of his toe walking, they scheduled a surgery in just a couple of short months from his initial visit. The day of the surgery they fitted him in a children sized gown and gave him a stuffed animal to hold onto. Everything is made just for children there. As he recovered they had a video game system wheeled into his room for him to play, and a video library for him to choose movies from, as well as an additional library with headphones, music, and books on tape. The hospital food is kid friendly and pretty good. Although parents had to buy their food separately, it was extremely low cost, and there were quite a few surrounding restaurants when we got sick of hospital food. After his surgery, my son wore casts on both legs for about 6 weeks. At first the surgery was a success, but now he is back up on his toes. I will be contacting the hospital soon for more evaluations though. Once you are accepted at the hospital, your child receives free health care for that condition until they're 18. The medical conditions this particular hospital accepts are mainly Orthopedic condition such as Scoliosis, club foot, Hip dysplasia, limb length discrepancies, hand disorders, and Dyslexia. However, they are not the only hospital like this. The Shiners also have a network of hospitals for Pediatric specialty care that are all free of charge as well. Their facilities are across the nation and their specialties include Orthopaedics, Burns, Spinal Cord Injury and Cleft Lip and Palate. As we continue to look for a way to help my son walk normally and figure out the cause, it is comforting to know that (until he is 18) we have to access to the top surgeons in the field with out having to worry about the cost, and they are located at a beautiful facility that my children are excited about, and look forward to going to.

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