GALVESTON, Texas, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- An unassuming, beautifully engraved plaque now greets patients and their families, visitors, and staff as they enter the lobby of the Galveston Hospital of Shriners Hospitals for Children. Its formal appearance and carefully selected words probably won't mean much to the children that benefit most from the gift it commemorates. But translated into free medical care, it means getting the best treatment possible for burn injuries without worrying about the cost. The inscription reads: "The Krist/Mlakar Endowment for Burned Children has been made possible by the substantial gift of Carole and Ronald Krist. This endowment is to perpetually recognize the compassionate and dedicated medical contributions to burned children by Joseph Mlakar, M.D." Ronald Krist, a Houston attorney who practices law with his sons Scott and Kevin, represented a 3-year-old boy who was horribly burned when his family's pick-up truck was hit on the driver's side and the spilled fuel exploded into flame. He sustained burns over 70 percent of his body. His long, arduous recovery was a succession of surgeries and healing and physical therapy and more surgeries and more healing and more therapy. He underwent ten surgeries during his initial admission and has been readmitted seven more times in the last three years. He will continue regular visits and admissions until he reaches adulthood. Mr. Krist and his son, Scott, worked on the case for 2 1/2 years. "Scotty worked almost exclusively on the case," Krist said. "When Scotty took Dr. Mlakar's deposition, we were so moved by his God-like love for the children that we wanted to do what we could. The seven-figure settlement couldn't even begin to alleviate what that little boy had to endure. We waived our fee and our $400,000 of out of pocket expense, but it still didn't seem adequate." So Krist and his wife, Carole, decided to make a more positive and lasting contribution. They established the Krist/Mlakar Endowment with a $1 million cash contribution. The interest and earnings on the fund will be used exclusively for the benefit of the Galveston Shriners Hospital. This endowment will be the focus of Mr. Krist's future philanthropic efforts, and he will encourage his colleagues and friends to join him in his noble effort. The endowment will be an ever increasing source of funds to help provide free medical care for children who have suffered burn injuries. Krist is also hopeful that the endowment demonstrates the good works of lawyers. The Krist/Mlakar Endowment for Burned Children not only honors Dr. Mlakar, it ensures that his love and his dedication will be felt by countless children whose tragedies bring them to the Galveston Shriners Hospital. Joseph M. Mlakar, M.D. practiced at the Shriners Hospital from 1994 to 1996 as Director of the Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate Program. He also assisted Robert McCauley, M.D., Chief of Plastics, with reconstructive surgery cases. He currently practices at Plastic Surgery Associates in Fort Wayne. The Galveston Shriners Hospital is one of four burn hospitals operated by Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Galveston hospital has provided treatment to more than 10,000 children since it opened in 1966. In addition to treatment of burn injuries, it provides treatment for cleft palate, cranial/facial deformities, and hemangioma and portwine birth marks. The Galveston Hospital, like the other 21 Shriners hospitals, provides medical care to children up to their 18th birthday, regardless of their race, religion or relationship to a Shriner. All care at Shriners Hospitals is provided totally without cost to the patient, parent or any third party. Shriners Hospitals are funded through the Shriners Hospitals for Children Endowment fund, which is maintained through gifts, bequests and contributions from Shriners, the public and generous individuals like the Krists.
SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children