Shriners Hospital reopens next month

Back in July, delegates at the national Shriners convention voted to reopen the burn hospital for children in Galveston. The date to reopen has now been set for November.

The hospital, a world leader in burn research and source of the foremost textbook on burn treatment, is tentatively scheduled to reopen Nov. 8, said Tommy Lambright of the hospital’s governing board.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Lambright, a leader in a rank-and-file revolt that overturned a decision by the combined boards of the International Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children to keep the hospital closed after the Sept. 13, 2008, storm.


The newly reopened hospital will be smaller and leaner, Lambright said. If fully staffed by the end of the year as expected, Shriners will have 200 employees compared with the 333 it had before Ike, he said. The national boards are expected to approve a budget that is about three-fourths of the $33 million pre-Ike budget, he said.

The two national Shriners boards decided to close the burn hospital, one of 22 Shriners hospitals nationwide, after the 2008 stock market decline caused the organization’s trust fund to shrink from $8 billion to $5 billion.

Douglas Maxwell, Shriners Hospitals for Children President and CEO, said the fund has recovered along with the stock market and now is worth about $6.5 billion.

Perhaps someday it will be as big as it once was, but that’s a small concern for now. Just getting it back is huge, and a win for children, Galveston, and UTMB. I hope they have a big celebration to go along with the grand reopening.

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