The staff of Shriners Hospitals for Children rose early on June 15 to board a charter plane in Spokane, Wash. The nurses entertained themselves making bracelets for the patients they were going to see that day.
By 9:45 a.m., the staff landed at the Havre airport, ready to provide care for the children of northern Montana.
Shriners Hospitals for Children-Spokane holds an annual outreach clinic at Northern Montana Hospital.
"The clinics are designed to make the follow-up visits required for our orthopedic patients easier for the families by bringing the Shriners Hospital staff to the patient, rather than having the families travel the long distance to Spokane," said Dr. Ron Ferguson, child of staff at the Spokane hospital.
The hospital sponsors six outreach clinics a year in Montana.
"We could not provide these clinics without the help of the local hospital and Shrine club. We are especially grateful to Northern Montana Hospital for providing the space and radiology equipment that makes these clinics possible," Ferguson said.
The local hospital donates its facility, the club provides local coordination and Shriners Hospitals-Spokane provides three doctors, office support, nurses, a physical therapist and a radiology staff member.
The 22 orthopedic patients who were seen are among 38 children being served from Hill, Blaine, Liberty and north Chouteau counties. More than 1,100 children are currently served in Montana through the Spokane hospital.
Any child from birth to 18 years old with a treatable orthopedic condition qualifies for care at the Shriners Hospitals. All treatment is paid for through endowment funds provided by the Shrine of North America.
"These patients are sponsored for care by the local Algeria-North Central Montana Shrine Club" said John Peklewsky, local club president. "The outreach clinics serve as another way to make the care easier for the patients and families."