Shriners for Children hospital expanding in Pasadena

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A local hospital with a worthwhile mission - world-class care regardless of the ability to pay - is growing.

The Shriners are expanding their medical mission with a brand new Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena.

Whether it's helping to dedicate a new cornerstone or hosting on stage, 18-year-old Marius Woodward was eager to give back to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

When he was eight, his parents were killed in a house fire in Romania. He survived - but had severe burns across 75 percent of his body.

He lost all 10 of his fingers. Surgeons at Shriners Hospital in Los Angeles replaced six of them with his toes.

"Each toe-to-hand transplant costs about half a million dollars, so they paid for everything," said Woodward.

"If the families are unable to pay, the Shriners philanthropy is able to help cover their costs," said Dr. Robert Cho, chief of staff at Shriners for Children Medical Center.

The first LA Shriners Hospitals opened in 1952 in the Westlake district. Its original mission of helping pediatric polio patients has evolved and expanded.

"All types of spinal injury, cleft lip and palate, orthopedic, pediatric needs for any children," said Chris Smith, Shriners International imperial potentate.

The new 17,000-square-foot facility, which opens in Pasadena in June, offers state-of-the-art radiology and operating suites and fitting rooms for prosthetics. And among its many services is physical and occupational therapy.

"We have an outdoor physical therapy terrace here where kids can get their therapy outdoor in the sunshine," Cho said.

The Pasadena location allows doctors to partner up with the nearby Huntington Hospital and Shriners doctors will also offer a walk-in fracture clinic to treat kids with broken bones.

"Any kid with any of the concerns that we treat here - we can see those kids from 8 to 10," said Dr. Cho.

"We look to be a part of the community and to be able to help the children," said Smith.

Woodward is now a patient ambassador who's looking forward to college.

"Any way I can I always want to pay it forward and help other people," said Woodward.
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