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In 1913, a friend of Forrest Adair, an Atlanta, Georgia (USA) financier and Scottish Rite Mason, suffered a dislocated hip in a train accident. Adair engaged orthopaedic surgeon Michael Hoke, M.D., to care for his friend. Through this connection, Dr. Hoke and Adair began a long friendship resulting in the involvement of Masons in the founding of the Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children.

Logo of SR HospitalThat same year, Dr. Hoke treated a college student for a bone infection. During his treatment, the student stayed with his aunt Mrs. William C. (“Bertie”) Wardlaw, Sr., a neighbor and friend of Dr. Hoke. Wishing to express her appreciation for Dr. Hoke’s treatment of her nephew, Mrs. Wardlaw asked what she could do to honor him. He said if she would raise the money for the hospital expenses of indigent, crippled children, he would volunteer his time to treat those patients.

In 1915, The Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children was founded in Decatur in two rented cottages after funds are raised for the care of needy children by Mrs. Wardlaw and other philanthropic Atlantans. The facility gave indigent, crippled children a place to recover after having surgery at Piedmont Hospital and Wesley Memorial Hospital (now Emory University Hospital). It accommodated 18 patients, 20 in case of urgency. Michael Hoke, M.D., was named Medical Director.

In 1918, a new 50-bed building was opened in Decatur. The name was changed to Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children, honoring the Masons who raised money to build the facility. It is now an orthopaedic surgical hospital for those who cannot afford to pay for care.

In 1933, Scottish Rite Mason Tom Slate convinced Georgia Tech Athletic Director Bill Alexander to allow the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech’s freshman teams to play on Tech’s Grant Field free of charge to benefit Scottish Rite. This begins the Scottish Rite football festival. Over 50 years later, it has evolved into a year-long series of fund-raising events involving hundreds of volunteers.

Finally, in 1966 the hospital began taking paying patients so that specialty pediatric care would also be available to those who can pay. Other surgical specialists joined the orthopaedics on staff as new surgical clinics were added and in 1971, additional services were developed including a Pediatric Continuity Clinic plus neurology, allergy, and cardiology clinics.

The Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital moved to a new, 50-bed facility on a seven-acre site in north Atlanta in 1976 and the Intensive Care Unit opened as a four-bed unit.

In 1985, the Emergency Department saw 5,000 patients in its first year of operation and the following year, a Pediatric Pulmonology Program was started. A year after that, Scottish Rite was one of Georgia’s first hospitals to receive state designation as a pediatric trauma center.

In 1989, the name was changed to Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, comprising the Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Meridian Mark Corporation (the holding company for the Children’s Medical Center Professional Building), and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Hospital for Children.

In addition, Scottish Rite was the first children’s hospital to have national “Miracle Children” in the Children’s Miracle Network telethon for two consecutive years.

They also opened The Center for Craniofacial Disorders and started the Dorsal Rhizotomy Surgery Program and Sleep Disorders Program.

In 1991, “Immunize Georgia’s Little Guys,” a state-wide coalition to increase immunization rates for children age two and under, was launched by Scottish Rite and in 1992, the Medical Center received Accreditation with Commendation, the highest rating possible, from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Fewer than four percent of the hospitals surveyed nationally during the same period received this honor.

That same year, the Child Advocacy Center, which serves sexually abused children, opened with funding from the Employee Annual Fund Campaign and the School Outreach Program starts, reaching over 84,000 children in its first two years.

Statistics from the National Pediatric Trauma Registry show that Scottish Rite trauma patients are more seriously ill or injured than the national norm but, in the majority of areas, have superior outcomes.

In 1994, a national study of pediatric intensive care units published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, patients treated in Scottish Rite’s intensive care unit had the best outcomes and the following year Scottish Rite receives its second consecutive Accreditation with Commendation rating from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

These are just a few of the tremendous accomplishments in the history of this marvelous medical facility.

For the year ended June, 1997, there were 41 Pediatric Specialties of the Medical Staff which consisted of 645 Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists. There were 5,350 Volunteers and 2,000 Employees. Emergency Department Visits totaled 67,179 while Patient Visits (Inpatient and Outpatient) totaled 161,336.

The Medical Center has 165 Inpatient Beds (including 39 ICU Beds) and there were nearly 15,000 surgeries (inpatient and outpatient) performed. With 27 single-specialty outpatient clinics and 13 multi-specialty clinics for treating complex conditions, Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center is a facility which truly cares for children!

The care provided is done in facilities specially designed for these young patients and this hospital is a proud member of the Masonic Charity family. You can find out more by visiting the Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center web site where you can also get some great information about children's health. Visit it now!



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