In 1915 the Masonic organization known as the Scottish Rite opened the Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children. Their goal was to offer a place of refuge and recovery for poor children suffering from polio. Within four years, the heart behind the facility led to a new hospital that was focused on pediatric orthopedic surgery for the less fortunate. The humble beginning of the 18 bed convalescent home gained speed. With the support of followers, medical doctors trained in healing and leadership, and the core beliefs of the Masons, the small hospital has turned into a medical system that continues to focus on helping poor children with illness, disease, and birth defects.
In order to fully understand the Scottish Rite Hospitals, one must understand the Masonic organization. The Scottish Rite is one of many Masonic groups that continue in a tradition of Freemasons to live a life based on virtue, control and God. The belief that God should be the center of a man’s life and decisions is not limited to any one Being. The groups only require that each member believe in a Supreme Being. Their Creed focuses on human progress and equal rights to all. These core beliefs led them to reach out to poor, polio stricken children and offer comfort and aid. The Scottish Rite hospitals use medical knowledge to push us forward and free care to give equality to health and quality of life.
The medical achievements of the Scottish Rite facilities began early. By 1939, the Medical Director of the original hospital formulated a non-surgical treatment for clubfoot, leading the way for all future treatments. The medical research and leadership also led to a new surgical procedure that drastically aids movement and mobility of cerebral palsy patients. In 1999, one of the Scottish Rite plastic surgeons invented a device that is used to correct facial deformities with reduced trauma to the patient. The largest testament to the knowledge, passion and efficiency of the Scottish Rite hospitals was being recognized as some of the top hospitals in the nation. Recently, the Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta was named 8th best general pediatric hospital in the country. The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital was ranked 4th for its orthopedic care.
The Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children has become a national system focused on healing and care for children, regardless of income. It started as a support for young polio victims, but now treats many pediatric illnesses, including learning issues, limb deficiencies, scoliosis, and many other birth defects. They also have a treatment facility for children victimized by sexual abuse. The constant focus on the children and their well-being has inspired others, resulting in other facilities, such as, the Shriner’s Hospital. The Scottish Rite belief in healing and equality continues to bring hope to suffering children.