There’s some extremely precious cargo bound for Cincinnati, Ohio on board this Cessna 210. It’s a local teen who’d been severely burned. She’s headed to the Shriners Hospital for treatment. Making the trip by car would be nearly impossible for her and her dad.
“Yeah, I want to say it takes eight hours each way. And we’re looking at two? Two and half. Five hour round trip,” says Shriner and pilot Jim Goetsch.
It’s a trip pilot Goetsch has made almost 200 times. And each trip he foots the entire bill.
“I fly ’em out there wait for ’em, come back. If we do a surgery I may stay there a week while they do the surgery,” says Goetsch.
“It’s not your typical doctors appointment that you drive across town and you drop your child off back at school for the second half of the day,” says Donna McCartney of the Shriner’s Hospital.
In Cincinnati the Shriner’s Hospital tailored to a serving children. Particularly burn victims and kids with congenital conditions things like cleft palate.
“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the, just the amount of services we provide for kids with medical needs,” says McCartney.
“My mom was talking to me on the way up here and said this is one of the only places that actually does my cleft palate,” says James Gulley.
He’s been coming to this hospital for 15 years, you’d never know he was born with a cleft palate. He says it’s all thanks to his doctors and the Shriner’s who’ve made sure his family has never had to pay a bill.
“They’re not just guys with funny hats. These guys are some of the nicest guys in the world I think. They would pay for all of our food, they just do it all for you. Literally everything,” says Gulley.
“We continue to treat all of our children, all of our patients, all of their families. Regardless of their ability to pay. Financial constraints do not limit the care that we provide for our kids and our families,” says McCartney.
“You know, if a kid has a problem, go to the Shriners. We’ll get you taken care of some way. All the Shriners ask is that you have the problem and you’re under the age of 18 and you are qualified, there’s no other qualifications,” says McCartney.
“Oh yeah, yeah, very proud to be a Shriner,” he adds.