Shriners Hospital To Launch Telemedicine Project With Nicosia, Cyprus

Feb 17, 1999, 00:00 ET from Shriners Hospitals for Children

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Cypriot children who are in
 need of orthopaedic care will soon benefit from the Shriners Hospitals for
 Children new telemedicine link with the Paraskevaidon Surgical and Transplant
 Foundation in Nicosia, Cyprus. On Thursday, February 18, 1999, Shriners
 Hospital's Chief of Staff, David M. Drvaric, will conduct an examination of
 one his Cypriot patients via the telemedicine hook-up. With the assistance of
 Dr. Costas Christodoulakis, an orthopaedic surgeon in Cyprus, Dr. Drvaric will
 be able to perform follow-up care on a 7-year-old Shriners Hospital patient.
 This child has been a Shriners Hospital patient since 1993.
     The expenses associated with the purchase and use of the telemedicine
 equipment are being funded by a grant from the George and Thelma Paraskevaides
 Foundation of Nicosia, Cyprus. Cypriot doctors will now be able to consult
 with doctors at Shriners Hospital via live video and audio. Images such as X-
 rays and photographs will also be transmitted. The telemedicine equipment is a
 VidiMedix Series 1000 workstation and is located in both Springfield and
 Cyprus. This telemedicine program is the first international program of its
 kind in the Shrine Hospital System.
     The Hospital's relationship with Cyprus began in 1979 when two Cypriot
 children with orthopaedic deformities were brought to Shriners Hospital in
 Springfield. These children were sponsored by George and Marina
 Christodoulous, who live in the Springfield area but maintain close ties with
 family and friends in Cyprus. Mr. Christodoulous is a Shriner affiliated with
 Melha Temple in Springfield. The Christodoulouses arranged for the Masonic
 group in Cyprus to pay for travel expenses, while they volunteered to house
 the Cypriot patients who were treated here and at the burn Shriners Hospital
 in Boston, Massachusetts.
     In the early 1980s more requests for applications were received,
 particularly for children of refugees who fled the northern part of the
 country after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Dr. Christodoulakis was treating
 many of these refugee children and identified The George and Thelma
 Paraskevaides Foundation as a possible source of funding for travel expenses
 associated with the children coming to Springfield.
     The George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation was established in 1980 by
 the Paraskevaides family. The Foundation helps Cypriot children obtain
 healthcare in other countries, if specialized care is not available in Cyprus.
 In addition to paying travel expenses for children coming to Shriners
 Hospitals, it provides funds for children with complex plastic surgery needs
 and heart ailments. The foundation also awards scholarships to young men and
 women so that they may obtain education elsewhere and bring new knowledge and
 skills back to Cyprus. Another goal of the foundation is to preserve the
 cultural, historical, and architectural traditions of Cyprus.
     In 1983, Dr. Leon Kruger, then Chief of Staff of Shriners Hospital, was
 invited to Cyprus to conduct an outreach clinic where he and other medical
 staff examined 100 children. Since that time, the Shriners Hospital's medical
 staff has traveled to Cyprus once a year to evaluate new patients and to
 conduct follow-up care on current patients. In 1998, over 370 patients were
 seen in the hospital's Cyprus clinic in just three days. During the year,
 approximately 75 patients come to Springfield for treatment.
     It has been the good fortune of Shriners Hospital to work in conjunction
 with the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation to benefit Cypriot
 children in need of care. The telemedicine equipment will strengthen this
 effort through better communication and follow-up of patients, as well as
 enabling doctors to make more timely decisions about their need for care.

SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children