Established: February 21, 1925
In 1918, when the national officials of the Shriners of North America were selecting locations for their orthopedic hospitals, the state of Massachusetts was selected to take care of the New England states and part of New York state.
Shriners Children's New England, in Springfield, Massachusetts, was built for about $300,000 on 6.5 acres of land donated by the Melha Shriners. It was the eighth hospital opened in the healthcare system. At the time, it housed 60 beds – 30 in a boys ward and 30 in a girls ward. Common conditions treated included clubfoot, congenital dislocation of the hips, and many cases of tuberculosis of the bone and poliomyelitis. In theses early days, the average length of stay for patients was 66 days. It was a home away from home for many.
Over 64 years, care expanded to treat scoliosis, limb deficiencies, cerebral palsy, hand disorders and skeletal growth abnormalities. A new, larger facility was built just steps behind the original building. In 1990, at a cost of $27 million – all raised by Shriners – and double the square footage, the new building opened featuring two operating theaters and a gait analysis lab. Thousands of children are treated each year.
Since then, care has continued to evolve and expand. Fracture care, sports medicine and urology clinics have been added to meet the needs of children and families.
- May 26, 1924: Cornerstone for hospital laid; thousands in attendance.
- February 21, 1925: Hospital opened. The first patient was an 11-year-old boy named Bertram, from Maine, who had clubfoot.
- May 15, 1925: Hospital dedication.
- February 16, 1959: 10,000th patient admitted – 11-year-old girl named Jan from Elmira, New York.
- June 5, 1988: Groundbreaking ceremony for new hospital building.
- October 1990: Patients moved into new hospital building.
- September 29, 1991: Dedication ceremony for new hospital building.
- 1991: Gait lab opened on-site; now known as the motion analysis center, it is still one of only two such centers in the New England region.
- 2016: Fracture care clinic begins.
- 2017: Care expands to include sports health and medicine, and urology services.
- 2018: EOS, the first ultra low dose X-ray imaging system in western Massachusetts, is added to the imaging department.
- January 1, 2023: Transitioned from an inpatient hospital to an outpatient clinic. Patients continue to receive clinic appointments, rehabilitation services (physical, occupational and speech therapy), motion analysis, radiology, orthotic and prosthetic services, and care management. When needed, Shriners Children’s medical staff performs surgeries at a nearby affiliate location.
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