At Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, the health and safety of our patients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. With the rapidly evolving situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19,) we are closely monitoring local health departments and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) and are actively following their recommendations.

We are working diligently to reschedule appointments postponed during the quarantine. We also understand you may feel some anxiety about bringing your child into the hospital. Our plans to restart routine care have been thoughtfully developed and implemented to keep everyone safe. We are also scheduling some appointments for new patients. If you have any questions, please call the hospital at 855-206-2096.

Families that have appointments of any kind are asked to arrive with ONLY ONE parent or guardian and no additional family members or guests.

When you arrive for your appointment, if you and your child are not already wearing a mask, you will receive one. You will both be screened for illness and will notice new safety precautions in place to promote clean hands, a clean environment, and social distancing.

We are here for you, and look forward to seeing you soon.

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Frankie and his father Frankie and his father

Frankie’s Story

Frankie and his fatherThe world today is different because of the COVID-19 pandemic; very little is untouched by the ripple effect of the virus. Beyond the devastating impact on those stricken and their caretakers, COVID has made nearly every aspect of life more difficult. It seems almost impossible that something positive could come from such global negativity. Sometimes though, finding “the good” simply requires a shift in one’s point of view. The caring staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati found it with a boy named Francis.

“Frankie,” as he is known by staff, is from Nigeria. He was born with a severe cleft palate, affecting his ability to speak, eat and even breathe. Frankie came to the attention of Save a Child-International, a non-profit organization founded by a group of Nigerian doctors in Atlanta, Georgia. The group’s goal is to enable some of Africa’s poor children to gain access to quality health care in the United States. One of the doctors attended a seminar presented by Debbie Harrell MSN, RN, NE-BC, director of professional relations at Cincinnati Shriners, where he learned of the hospital’s exceptional skill in the treatment of cleft lip and palate, and its mission of caring for children regardless of a family’s ability to pay. In the fall of 2019, his organization arranged for Frankie and his father to travel to Cincinnati.

During their stay, the two lived in one of the hospital’s “family care units,” the motel-like rooms within the hospital. Frankie became the patient of Dr. Christopher Gordon, M.D., FACS FAAP, a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in craniofacial disorders such as cleft lip and palate. “Frankie’s cleft palate was one of the most severe I have ever seen,” Dr. Gordon said.

Plans were for the father and son to remain at the hospital for six months, the longest a travel visa would permit. Everyone wanted to make sure Frankie could benefit from as much care as possible before returning to Nigeria. During that period, Frankie had three successful surgeries to repair his palate. Now it was time to go home.

Unfortunately, at the same time, COVID-19 was rapidly spreading across the globe. International travel came to a screeching halt, and Frankie and his father had to stay in the U.S.

Luckily, they were at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, so there was never a worry about where to stay or how to survive during this period of uncertainty. Frankie and his father could remain guests of the hospital until the travel ban lifted.

The unexpected upshot was that now Frankie had the time to receive speech therapy – a luxury not possible except for the pandemic delay. He worked regularly with Cincinnati Shriners’ occupational and physical therapy department, improving the skills his disorder had prevented for most of his life.

Even the darkest days can offer a moment of light. In Frankie’s case, the COVID travel ban allowed him remain at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and fully benefit from its many life-changing services before returning home.

Brayden and staff Brayden and staff

Brayden’s story

Brayden with doctor

On a cold morning in November of 2018, Brayden was on his way to work when he was involved in a single-car accident. The car went over a guardrail and burst into flames. His injuries were devastating: in addition to other trauma, he was burned over 85% of his body.

Brayden was airlifted to a local hospital where he spent nearly seven months. While there, both Brayden’s legs and his left hand were amputated, and he lost more than 50% of his body weight. The hospital staff considered him “noncompliant” and difficult to work with– not surprising given his bleak situation, and the fact that he was kept heavily sedated for much of the time.

Finally, the decision was made to discharge him to his father’s home for hospice care. He weighed an emaciated 82 pounds. He was unable to sit up and his burn wounds were still open and extremely painful.

The family friend suggested Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati might be able to help. After a consult, Brayden was brought to Cincinnati in May of 2019.

The difference in care was instantly apparent. “Here we use a team approach to treat our patients,” said Cindy DeSerna, LISW-S, CCM, manager of care management for Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “Brayden needed so much. Because he was legally an adult, no one at the previous hospital made him do the hard work when he became frustrated. We knew he would need all the help our team could give him.”

“A large burn can be mentally as well as physically debilitating,” said Petra Warner, M.D., FACS, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital Chief of Staff and Brayden’s burn surgeon. “It takes internal strength to redefine who you are and accept what has happened. Brayden has this strength—it was visible on his first day in clinic when he stated he wanted to regain his independence.”

Burn injuries like Brayden’s cause a hypermetabolic state that results in increased muscle wasting. Patients often require three times their normal caloric intake to begin healing. The clinical dietitians at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital understand that, and develop a liquid diet specifically designed to provide the precise nutrients and calories for each patient.

Brayden also worked regularly with hospital psychiatrist Joseph Cresci Jr., M.D., who quickly recognized that the young man had become clinically depressed. Dr. Cresci prescribed medication to boost his appetite as well as his mood.

Click here to view the video clip of Brayden’s story.

Within seven weeks, Brayden gained more than 40 pounds. Along with proper nutrition, Dr. Warner’s skilled skin grafting and proper dressing changes began to heal his wounds. He was also speaking with Dr. Cresci three times a week, who helped him see some light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Now it was time to start the hard work of recovery. Brayden hadn’t sat upright in nearly eight months and even the effort was extremely painful. Cincinnati Shriners’ burn nurses know that it takes patience and tenacity—combined with a bit of “tough love”— for patients like Brayden to get better. At first, the pain made him difficult to work with, but his nurses didn’t let up. Finally, during a particularly tough session, Brayden’s nurse looked him in the eye and said, “I know this hurts, but you HAVE to do it. I’m not going to give up on you!” It was a turning point for Brayden; he realized that he could get better.

By the end of June, Brayden was strong enough to move forward in his recovery. Less than two months earlier, he had been released from another hospital because there was nothing more it could do for him. Now because of Shriners Hospitals for Children, he had a path to take back his life.

Brayden headed to Shriners Hospitals for Children—Houston to regain his independence. The Houston Shriners Hospital specializes in orthopaedic treatment and provides intensive inpatient physical and occupational therapy.

The goal at Houston hospital was to build Brayden’s upper body and core strength, so he could sit up on his own and transfer from one chair to another. Their prosthetics team also crafted a device that would allow him to propel himself in a manual wheelchair, which was a game changer—a real move toward self-reliance.

Brayden will continue treatment at both hospitals, and though his challenges are far from over, the life-changing care of Shriners Hospitals for Children is giving Brayden the tools and treatment to work toward a positive future.

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital takes next steps in relocation to Dayton

Esteemed pediatric specialty hospital will remain open in Cincinnati while construction is completed

(CINCINNATI, Ohio; January 6, 2020) – Following a nine-month period of exploration, Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati is pleased to announce that all contract and construction plans have been approved related to its relocation to the campus of Dayton Children’s Hospital.

In March of last year, leadership of the two pediatric health care organizations publicly announced that they were seeking to pursue a “hospital within a hospital” arrangement, with a goal of relocating the services of Cincinnati Shriners Hospital to the Dayton campus. The 51-year-old Cincinnati institution provides all levels of pediatric burn treatment, as well as cleft lip and palate, plastic and reconstructive surgery for children up to age 18, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital will remain open and continue to accept new and existing patients at its Burnet Avenue location while construction is completed in Dayton. The estimate for transition is sometime in late 2020.

There has been a steady decline in the severity and number of pediatric burns in the U.S., especially those requiring a long hospital stay. This decline is due in large part to education and prevention efforts, many of have been spearheaded by the Shriners Hospital system.

The new location will allow Shriners Hospitals for Children to maintain its southwest Ohio presence with a surgical facility designed to meet and exceed today’s medical standards for its pediatric specialty care, while gaining operational efficiencies by partnering with Dayton Children’s and purchasing some services.

Cooper Cooper

Cooper’s Story

Cooper Before

On a typical summer day at the Georgetown, Ohio fire department, Emergency Medical Technician Nickie responded to a call reporting a dog bite injury. Although the incident took place in her neighborhood, she didn’t think much about it until she arrived on the scene to find that the injured child was her 12-year old son, Cooper.  “It looked like half of his face was gone,” she said later.  She learned that the attack occurred when an unrestrained dog crawled under a fence where Cooper was playing with friends.

The boy was airlifted to the nearby children’s hospital, where he received more than 200 stitches to his face and neck, and another 40 to his back. The process took six hours, after which they were sent home.

At a follow-up visit two weeks later, Nickie was told Cooper didn’t need plastic surgery for another year or two. When she disagreed, a plastic surgeon was consulted.  She learned that the specialist’s treatment wouldn’t be covered by insurance, meaning the family would have to pay all of the cost to improve Cooper’s appearance.  Nickie recalled the devastating news, saying “I felt like I didn’t protect him when he was injured; now I couldn’t fix him.”

To help her cope, Nickie began sharing their story on Facebook. Someone suggested they reach out to Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati. At first she was puzzled; she only knew the hospital for its world-class pediatric burn care.  She soon learned that Cincinnati Shriners Hospital is also a destination for plastic and reconstructive surgery, and treats children regardless of a family’s ability to pay.  Nickie made a call on a Tuesday. Minutes later, she and Cooper had an appointment for the following Friday.

At the appointment, they met plastic surgeon Scott Rapp, M.D., FACS, who agreed with Nickie’s assessment that Cooper needed reconstructive surgery.  He also suggested it be followed by laser treatments. Using lasers for scar reduction is a relatively new procedure; the reconstructive surgeons at Shriners’ specialty hospitals have perfected its use to improve the appearance of the scars from burns as well as many other injuries.

“Dr. Rapp was so reassuring,” Nickie recalled of their visit. “He quashed all our fears and spent a lot of time talking with Cooper to make sure he felt comfortable.”

After Cooper’s outstanding outcome, Nickie was determined to spread the word about Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, using social media to reach out to mothers in similar situations, connecting at least two families to its skilled, family-centered care.  “I don’t want another parent to ever have to feel like I did,” she said.

Emma and a dog Emma and a dog

Emma’s Story

One quiet afternoon while home with her father Scott, six-year-old Emma accidentally knocked over a bottle of commercial-grade drain opener which was stored in a closet. Not realizing the danger, she tried to clean up the spill herself with paper towels, kneeling in the caustic liquid. Within minutes it burned through her pants and into her left shin.

Emma and a dog

When Emma showed her father the “brown spot” on her leg, he quickly realized what happened. They rushed to the local children’s hospital where, after a four-hour wait, the two were dispatched to the burn experts at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati.

Emma’s wound was treated that same day, and Scott was given all the training and supplies they would need to help it heal at home. But at a follow-up visit two weeks later, the depth of the wound had not improved sufficiently—Emma would need a skin graft.

Dr. Petra Warner, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital Chief of Staff and burn surgeon, put the family at ease with her careful briefing of the procedure. “It is important to make parents feel heard and included, and that is exactly what Dr. Warner did,” Emma’s mother Christina recalled of the experience.

Emma, who often experiences anxiety in stressful situations, was particularly calm about the process, much to her parents’ surprise. “I knew I was safe because all the doctors were smiling at me,” Emma told them. Christina credits the clear information and patience of the nursing and child life staff with Emma’s unexpected tolerance. “Emma loves structure, so their descriptions for her using IPads worked wonders,” Christina said.

Emma and her burn

The caring staff of Cincinnati Shriners Hospital made sure Emma was prepared even after she went home. “They actually mailed us extra compression garments [worn to keep scarring to a minimum] over the summer so Emma could go swimming; we didn’t have to ask. Who does that?!” Christina marveled.

Today, Emma is thriving. Though she will need a few more visits, her progress has been excellent. “You don’t know the future,” Christina said of the frightening episode, “but today Emma can run all the way around the track at her school! The nurses at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital always made her feel special, so she knows she can do whatever she sets out to do.”

Juliette with hand wrapped up Juliette with hand wrapped up

Juliette’s Story

Juliette and mother with doctor

Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati should be the destination for any child who sustains a life-threatening major burn injury. However, even a small burn can become serious if not properly treated—and all children deserve the superior pediatric burn care of Cincinnati Shriners Hospital.

Three-year-old Juliette accidentally touched her family’s glass stove top, sustaining second-degree burns on the palm of her hand. Her mother Jodi immediately rushed her to the local urgent care clinic. After triaging Juliette’s wound, the urgent care staff called Cincinnati Shriners Hospital to set an appointment for further assessment. They were scheduled for the very next day.


Later, Jodi described her first impressions of the pediatric specialty hospital in a Facebook post: “From the moment we walked in, Juliette received the best care,” she wrote, sharing details of the experience, and her amazement at the attentiveness of the nursing staff, both to her and to Juliette. “Nurse Emily asked Juliette questions to get to know her; they made the visit fun for her and were kind and patient.” Jodi recalled that she was taught how to dress Juliette’s injury at home, and given a week’s supplies to care for the burn. “Once her treatment was complete, Emily escorted us down to the clinic area so Juliette could pick out a toy for being so brave!” she shared.

The care a family receives from Cincinnati Shriners Hospital doesn’t end once they walk out the door. A child’s burn injury, whether large or small, is treated with the same thorough and knowledgeable expertise, for the best possible outcome.

“I had been home for one day, and received three calls from the nurses to check on Juliette and schedule her next appointment,” Jodi continued. “I am so thankful for Shriners Hospital and its awesome staff. I have felt such relief knowing Juliette is in the best of hands.”

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital names new chief administrator

Randall A. White; Hospital Administrator, Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnat

(CINCINNATI; July 10, 2019) – Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati is pleased to announce Randall A. White as its Hospital Administrator, effective immediately. White replaces Mark Shugarman, who recently retired from the position after more than five years serving as the pediatric specialty hospital’s chief executive.

“The Board of Governors of Cincinnati Shriners Hospital welcomes Randy White,” said Board Chairman Tim Mason. “We are fortunate to have a person of his caliber as our new administrator and look forward to his leadership as we move into the future.”

White brings more than 20 years of progressive experience to Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, including more than ten years at his most recent position as President and CEO for Fayette Regional Health System in Connersville, Indiana.

“I am truly happy to join the team at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, and look forward to building on the legacy established by this institution,” said White of his new position. “It is an honor to work with this excellent staff to continue the hospital’s mission of providing the region’s finest pediatric specialty care.”

He has a Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration as well as a Master of Business Administration from Marshall University South Charleston.

Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati provides leading-edge treatment and surgery for burns and pediatric plastic surgery, including cleft lip and palate, abnormal breast development in boys and girls, hemangioma, congenital hairy nevus, hand malformations, ear deformities, complex wound and skin disorders, and trauma and reconstructive conditions. Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati is verified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons and recognized as a Cleft Lip and Palate Team by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation. The hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission. All services are provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay. For more information, visit

Hendon’s Story


Hendon is a soft-spoken, polite 17-year old with a quick smile and warm demeanor. A junior at his Plant City, Florida high school, Hendon is a standout in a variety of school activities from wrestling to band, as well as math and science.

Hendon was born with microtia, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped. His mother Stephanie recalls worrying about how they would afford the cost of the multiple surgeries necessary to correct the defect. (Often private insurance will not cover what it considers a cosmetic anomaly; microtia correction can cost $20,000 to $30,000.) At a little league game when Hendon was nine, Stephanie voiced her concern to a friend, a fellow nurse with whom she had attended school. Her friend suggested she reach out to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“Ironically, we had both worked at the Tampa Shriners Hospital, but because that location focuses on orthopedics, I didn’t think of it for Hendon,” Stephanie said. When she discovered that the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery, she reached out for an appointment.

Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati recognizes that serious self-esteem issues can develop when children are bullied or teased for physical differences. Its team of board-certified plastic surgeons can treat a wide array of issues, whether congenital, developmental or acquired, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Hendon remembers his first meeting with his surgeon, Brian Pan, M.D., FACS. “As a kid, he explained everything to me so I could understand; he even drew pictures so I knew what was going to happen,” he said.

Ear reconstruction must occur in stages, requiring a series of surgeries to create the ear from rib, skin and cartilage grafts. Hendon has had three surgeries and may need one more.

Stephanie continues to marvel at how, even at age 17, Hendon actually looks forward to his trips to Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “Everyone here makes him feel special and cared for. It is just the best place.”

Kaj Kaj

Kaj’s Story

Kaj was a healthy 7-month-old boy living with his parents in Evansville, Indiana, until one day in March of 2012 when their world changed forever.

That is when Kaj, strapped in his car seat, was severely burned in an accidental vehicle fire. His father was able to pull him from the fire and rushed Kaj to the nearest emergency room with life-threatening burn injuries.

Because 30% of Kaj’s burns were third degree, the doctors there said he would need to be transferred a burn specialty facility. Even with immediate treatment, they estimated he had 72 hours to live.

Within two hours of the fire, Kaj was on an emergency Life Flight destined for Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, where a team led by Kevin Yakuboff, M.D., FACS, FAAPS, stabilized and treated Kaj. Because of the skillful care he received at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj survived the first 72 hours and well beyond. Over the next seven years Shriners Hospital for Children – Cincinnati became a second home for Kaj and his parents. He has had 40 surgeries to treat his injuries, including skin grafts to scar releases.

Nothing could have prepared Kaj and his family for how their lives would change after that day. Finding a “new normal” following the accident took time, but with guidance from his medical team at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and social worker Donna McCartney, Kaj’s parents have been able to nurture both his physical recovery and his resilience through a childhood different from his peers.


Kaj, now 7 years old, is growing up with a kind heart, magnetic personality and strong spirit. Thanks to the family-centered care at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj parents are confident about his future, and proud to see him grow, thrive and feel comfortable in his own beautiful skin.

osu osu

Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati researchers take top awards at international burn conference

OSU(CINCINNATI, Ohio; April 16, 2019) – Researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati were awarded First and Second place Overall for two research projects aimed at improving burn treatment outcomes. The awards were presented at the 51st annual American Burn Association (ABA) conference, held April 2-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The ABA annual conference highlights the latest developments in burn-related research, education, care, rehabilitation and prevention. There were 530 research abstracts from around the globe submitted for consideration, from which 292 were chosen for poster presentations at the conference. Cincinnati Shriners Hospital researchers won three Best in Category awards, two of which went on to take the First and Second place Overall.

The First-place Overall winning project, Combinatorial Use of CEAs with Dermal Substitutes Containing Dermal Papilla-like Structures, presented by Megan Malara, tested a new dermal graft material intended to improve outcomes for patients with large burns and insufficient non-burned skin for grafting. Cultured epithelial autograft (CEA) is a skin substitute used to speed wound closure in patients with very large burns, but it is thin and heals with more scarring than normal skin grafts. Preliminary findings show that the new dermal substitute, when combined with CEA, results in healed wounds that appear more like normal skin. Researchers on this project include Malara, Britani Blackstone, Molly Baumann, Danielle DeBruler, Kevin Bailey, Dorothy Supp and Heather Powell.

The Second-place Overall award, Pirfenidone Inhibits Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Genes in Keloid Keratinocytes presented by Latha Satish, focused on a potential treatment to reduce keloid scarring. Keloids are abnormal scars that can grow indefinitely and have a negative impact on quality of life. Results indicated that a drug called Pirfenidone may make keloid scar cells behave more like normal skin cells. This early step could lead to discoveries to treat or even prevent keloid scars. Researchers on this project include Satish, Alexander Evdokiou, Jennifer Hahn and Dorothy Supp.


“I am proud to see the work of our scientific staff recognized at this prestigious meeting,” said Dorothy M. Supp, PhD, Interim Director of Research for Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “These presentations exemplify the high quality of research performed by members of the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital scientific staff on a daily basis. These projects in particular offer the promise of improved treatments for patients with large burns or disfiguring scars.”

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