Medical Watch: Shriners works to make burn victims whole again

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 7:01 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

Across North America, a group of men is changing lives of children and teens in need of medical care.
And some of them are doing that right here in our backyard.
 
"She saw him in the fire and she went through the fire and grabbed him and the carpet was burning and that's how the bottom of her feet burnt," said Jacqueline Clark, of Mississippi, talking about her grandson Ryan Overstreet,17, of Moselle, who was two-years-old at the time. 

Fifteen years later, it still causes pain and tears remembering when her daughter and grandsons were caught in a house fire. Today she is grateful to the Shriners for making them whole again.

"They're great. They are just...they are a blessing. They are God's people," she said through tears.

Twice a year, the Jerusalem Shriners have a burn clinic for their children and teen patients at their headquarters in Destrehan. The clinics save families a trip to their hospital in Galveston. Today, 100 came from eight states across the South.

"I can say that overwhelmingly, the patients are very grateful when we finish," said Dr. Robert McCauley, Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas.
 
He explained that helping the children is a long and timely process of many types of treatment.  He says along with surgery there are treatments to help the psychosocial side of the injuries, music therapy to help their moods, physical therapy and occupational therapy, rehabilitation, exercise programs to help patients with their range of motion and function.

Lasers are also being used to help with scarring that takes away mobility. Dr. McCauley stressed that helping the children was more than restoring appearance. It is about helping them be functional and independent in life.

"People that have known Dr. McCauley and have seen him in the operating room, say that he's truly a sculptor with these kids. Dr. McCauley will do more than 300 surgeries a year," said John Williamson, a Shriner who is the group's recorder.
recorder
 
To get an idea of the impact the Shriners make, they treat children from all over the world at their 22 North American hospitals. It's at no out of pocket cost to families. They spending $830 million at their hospitals a year. They also spend $35 million a year on cutting edge scientific research. 

Some of the nurses at the clinic were volunteers. One was training. Shriners became clowns to entertain the patients in the waiting room.
 
The hospital in Galveston treats more than the skin. Therapy treats the spirit as well.
 
One teen who was caught in a house fire when he was only nine-months-old when the hot water heater exploded, now has a new CD out called 'Thoughts in My Mind.'

"Just let the stuff that hurt and let it out in the song, just knowing how I'm like this," said Malik Fields, 17, of Baton Rouge, who has lived his life with severe scars.

But with the Shriners dedication, the children have accomplished what they never thought was possible.

Along with young burn patients, the Shriners also treat children and teens with spinal cord injuries, physical deformities, orthopedic problems and those who need prosthetics.

If you need help from the Shriners: www.jerusalemshriners.com
In Destrehan: 985-725-1716 or 1-800-262-1587 to donate or for information
If you want to donate to the cause:
www.donate2SHC.org
To refer patients who need Shriners' help: 1-800-237-5055

 

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