Shriners Children's history in Texas dates back to 1920, when the Arabia Temple opened what was then called the “Crippled Children’s Clinic” inside the Baptist Sanitarium in downtown Houston. Their efforts eventually led them to a home in the city’s medical center as a free-standing hospital that specialized in treating common to very complex orthopedic conditions.
According to his son, it was a chance meeting on a plane with a Shriner that his father, Truman G. Blocker, M.D., a surgeon who treated survivors of the 1947 Texas City Disaster and the University of Texas Medical Branch’s first president, that the idea for Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston was born. By 1959, a need for pediatric burn care was recognized in the U.S., and Dr. Blocker knew the Shriners were pioneers in children's health care.
In 1966, the Shriners opened the first of what would become four children’s burn care facilities in the United States on Galveston Island. Since then, the hospital has become world-renowned for its advances in the field of burn care through research and treatments, which have led to a dramatic increase in survival rates among burn patients.
After Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island in 2008, Galveston's cleft lip and palate program moved to the Houston hospital to ensure patients would continue to receive care. For several years after that, the two hospitals continued to work together to provide services, such as prosthetics and orthotics, so their patients could receive the best possible outcomes and live lives without limits.
In January of 2021, the two Texas facilities consolidated together to become one as Shriners Children’s Texas. This collaboration of care in one location has already proven extremely beneficial to patients with burn injuries, orthopedic conditions, and cleft lip and palate.
- 1920s: Arabia Shrine Temple opens the first orthopedic clinic in Houston, Texas.
- 1947: April 16 – "Texas City Disaster" was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, which claimed the lives of at least 581 and injured over 5,000, mainly with burns.
- 1952: Arabia Temple Crippled Children's Clinic opens.
- 1962: July 4 – The joint boards resolved to provide burn care for children, and partnered with University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) to embark on the construction of their first burn hospital.
- 1964: June 23 – Groundbreaking ceremony in Galveston.
- 1965: May 12 – A cornerstone leveling was conducted by the Grand Lodge of Texas.
- 1966: March 20 – Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston opens.
- 1966: Arabia Temple Clinic joins Shriners Hospitals for Children, making it the 21st in the system.
- 1992: Galveston opens a new, larger hospital across the street from UTMB.
- 1994: The Houston hospital moves to the medical center in their new building.
- 2021: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston and Galveston consolidate and become Shriners Children's Texas in Galveston.
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