Delegates at the national Shriners convention meeting in San Antonio voted Monday to reopen a world-renowned burn hospital for children in Galveston, closed since it was damaged by Hurricane Ike in September.
Convention delegates voted to keep open all of the 22 hospitals nationwide in the Shriners system and, in a separate decision, voted 756 to 482 to reopen the Shriners Hospital for Children-Galveston.
The vote followed months of lobbying by the 1,000-member El Mina Shrine, based in Galveston. Tommy Lambright, the Shriners Hospital for Children Galveston board member who led the lobbying effort, said every one of the 1,500 delegates to the convention was contacted by phone.
The Galveston hospital, known for its advances in burn treatment, was kept closed after the storm by the combined boards of the International Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children after the endowment for the hospital system shrank from $8 billion to $5 billion because of the economic downturn.
The vote was welcomed by the hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. David Herndon, a celebrated burn surgeon.
“I’m immensely gratified,” said Herndon, who also is head of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Blocker Burn unit, in a telephone interview from San Antonio.
“Very few hospitals can take care of the massive burns we can anywhere in the world,” Herndon said. “This is vitally important to our area.”
That’s good news for Galveston, good news for UTMB, and good news for everyone who has been or will be helped by their services. Well done, y’all.