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June 2008 Issue

Former patient Danny Happy, 11, visits with Shriners administrator Ron Hitzler at the anniversary event. Last July, a small plane crashed into Happy’s neighbor’s house. He sustained burns over 95 percent of his body and was hospitalized for over 200 days. He was discharged in February.
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Shriners Hospital Celebrates 40 Years, Opens Burn Exhibit

Published June 2008

More than 40 years ago Shriners of North America, a group of fun-loving men mostly known for their work in orthopedic hospitals and their little cars in parades, made a decision that would save the lives of thousands of children and have an effect felt around the world when it came to the treatment of children with burn injuries.

In the early 1960s, pediatric burn care did not exist as an area of specialized medicine. There were few recognized medical protocols in the treatment of children with severe burns; there weren’t any freestanding hospitals to treat these injuries; and there were no studies to determine how best to treat children with a burn injury.

Today, medical advances enable children with 80 and even 90 percent of their bodies burned to survive their injuries.

Forty years ago, it was unheard of for anyone to survive this type of injury. The higher survival rates, along with better cosmetic results and improved function and quality of life for burn survivors, result from medical advances made possible by the work done at Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati, which celebrated its 40th anniversary with an open house on May 17.

Dozens of patients who have been treated at the Cincinnati hospital attended, including Bill Roach, from Bourbon, Mo., who at age 6 inspired Shriners to expand its health care mission to include children with burn injuries. Facing amputation of his leg due to inadequate medical care for a burn injury, Roach and his family turned to the Shriners.

The success of his ensuing treatment at a Shrine orthopedic hospital was highlighted two years later when Roach kicked a football into an audience of cheering Shriners at their 1962 convention. That day the Shriners unanimously approved a resolution that led to the establishment of three Shriners hospitals specializing in pediatric burn injuries (a fourth was added in 1997).

During the Cincinnati celebration, the hospital unveiled a new exhibit, “40 Years of Pediatric Burn Care.” The exhibit showcases the most significant advancements in pediatric burn care over the last four decades, but more importantly, it tells the stories of the children who have been treated at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital—their physical pain, emotional struggles and determination to overcome adversity.

The exhibit also includes an interactive display to show stages of first-, second- and third-degree burns and a timeline display that highlights important milestones in burn care.

The exhibit, located in the hospital main lobby and atrium, is now open to the public from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Call the hospital at (513) 872-6000 to make sure the exhibit is not out on loan. For more information, visit

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