Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Scottish Rite Reflects on History for 100th Birthday

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Scottish Rite for Children in Dallas has Something Good to celebrate this month: Its 100th birthday.

"A lot of patients that have been treated in those years," Scottish Rite Hospital for Children President and CEO Robert L. Walker said.

The beginnings of the world-renown treatment center for pediatric orthopedics are rich with history. Scottish Rite started in Oct. 1921, in the same location at which it stands today.

"At that time there was a polio epidemic, not just in Dallas, but around the country," Walker said. "They recognized (the need) for children, to provide care for children who have been inflicted with polio."

Scottish Rite for Children

A group of Texas Masons approached Dallas’s first orthopedic surgeon, W. B. Carrell, during the polio epidemic in an effort to provide life-saving treatment to children affected by polio, regardless of their family's ability to pay. Carrell had served in the military during World War I and came back to Dallas to settle down, so the timing was perfect.

Since then, their doctors have become world leaders in pediatric orthopedics, healing children’s muscles, joints and bones. Scottish Rite is consistently ranked among the top five pediatric orthopedic programs in the U.S.

Scottish Rite for Children

“It’s special because it’s a reflection on the past. You look at all the lives that we’ve touched throughout these hundred years, approaching 350,000 lives," Walker said. "And you think of the quality of life that’s been improved for so many children along the way.”

They've helped children who couldn't use their hands or legs from injuries and disorders such as scoliosis, clubfoot, hand differences, hip disorders, sports injuries and fractures. Even others who struggle with neurological and learning disorders such as dyslexia have been able to live full lives.

"I have very good memories of being here, having surgery, and being a patient," Emily Interrante said.

Interrante came to Scottish Rite 25 years ago with developmental dysplasia of the hips. Now she's on staff there as a pharmacist.

Scottish Rite for Children Hospital in Dallas is celebrating its 100th birthday this month.

"I don't think I ever would have found pharmacy as a career, something that I love so much if I had not been a patient here," she said. "So they really have changed my life."

“Our intention is to be around for many more years," Walker said. "And to continue to improve the quality of care that we give, the innovation in pediatric orthopedics and the procedures that we use, our research, and to try to expand those across the country."

Former patients have gone on to amazing things.

Lyndon L. Olson, Jr. was born in Waco with bilateral club feet. His parents brought him to Scottish Rite at 10 years old after several unsuccessful surgeries.

After consulting with Olson and his family, the decision was made to amputate both of his legs. But with help of expert care at the hospital, he has since lived a full and active life.

Some of his accomplishments include being elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving as president and CEO of a major insurance company, and eventually being sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden in the 1990s. He's now giving back to Scottish Rite.

“He has been very successful in life and has been on the board for about 25 years, and chairman for the last 15 years. We are so indebted to his leadership," Walker said.

Scottish Rite for Children

The hospital has been around so long that famous visitors have ranged from Charlie Chaplin to the Dallas Cowboys.

And in honor of its milestone birthday, Scottish Rite is hosting its first-ever capital campaign, the Boundless Centennial Campaign. The goal is to raise money for expansion, renovation, patient care and renovation.

"We’re always looking at ways that we can have state-of-the-art technology at this hospital so we can appropriately treat our children," Walker said. "We feel very good about that capital campaign. The target is about $100 million. We’re about 60% of the way."

The hospital is also in need of more volunteers.

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