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