ST. GEORGE — Free screenings will be offered to children with bone, muscle or joint problems Saturday as part of an outreach service by Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Screening chairman Doug Prettyman, an active member of the Dixie Shrine Club, said the hospital offers screenings for orthopedic conditions such as osteogenesis, cerebral palsy, limb deformities, rickets, spine conditions and even sports injuries.
“What we do in these screening clinics is we try to get as many kids locally to have the doctors evaluate them so we can send them up and get them into the hospital (for treatment),” Prettyman said.
Mike Babcock, director of public relations at the Salt Lake City Shriners Hospital for Children, said once doctors determine whether a child has an ailment, a referral is made.
“All of our services are provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” Babcock said. “We’ve got case managers and financial counselors at the hospital who handle that. Essentially, what we’re trying to do is put families’ minds at ease and give them options.”
Prettyman recalled a child who started treatment at Shriners when he was 10.
“He had both legs amputated, so they put him in prostheses,” Prettyman said. “When he graduated, the hospital put him in brand new prostheses, and he went out and served his mission.”
No appointment is necessary for the screening clinic, but Prettyman suggested parents bring any medical documentation of their child’s condition that they have.
“Once (a child is accepted by the hospital), if parents don’t have money to get their child there and back, and if they have a child that’s in real dire need, we do have a fund to get them gas money to get there or a bus ticket (for a parent and the child) if they don’t have a vehicle,” Prettyman said.
Approximately 10 children and their parents attended the last screening, and Prettyman is hoping there will be more who come in this weekend.
“I’d love to see 20-30 kids leave here; that’s my goal,” Prettyman said. “I don’t know if we’ll get them all, but I’m hoping.”
Prettyman said he abides by a saying used by Shriners for years: “No man ever stood so tall as when he stood to help a child.”
“My goal and our goal is if a child needs help, let’s help that child,” Prettyman said. “It’s one of the greatest benefits and greatest joys I’ve ever had. (The hospital) continuously trying to improve and figure out how to do things better.”
The screening clinic will be at the Doctor’s Free Clinic, 1036 E. Riverside Drive, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the screenings, call Prettyman at 986-4132.