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Shriners screen clinic on Friday

BEMIDJI—Free pediatric orthopedic screenings are taking place this Friday in Bemidji thanks to the Shriners Hospital for Children-Twin Cities.

For the 18th year, the orthopedic specialty hospital is setting up shop in the region and will provide complimentary screening to determine if a child would benefit from continued care. The program in Bemidji started as a partnership between the Indian Health Service and Shriners Hospital for Children to assist underserved youth in the community.

According to its website, the hospital provides comprehensive medical, surgical and rehabilitative care for children.

"We treat kids with a variety of different bone, muscle and joint conditions," said Erin Jurkovich, the hospital's director of marketing and communications. "During the screening clinic, we evaluate if the family has a concern that's severe enough to warrant treatment."

If the screening reveals a need for additional treatment, Jurkovich said health professionals at the clinic Friday will provide information about the services available in the Twin Cities. Additionally, Jurkovich said the hospital can help arrange transportation and lodging services to make a potential trip to the Twin Cities hospital more convenient.

Each screening takes about 15 to 20 minutes and the following signs are looked for:

• In-toeing, toe walking or flat feet.

• Bowed legs or knocked knees.

• Sore, painful or stiff joints.

• Limb deficiency.

• Curved spine, indicating possible scoliosis.

• Club feet.

"It's important because left undetected, the condition can become more severe and difficult to treat later on. The earlier we can diagnose and begin treatment, the easier it is on the child," Jurkovich said. "There are some common concerns parents generally have when children hit developmental milestones and they want to seek out the opinion of a specialist. That way they can determine if it's something that the child will grow out of or if it's more severe."

Last year, six children at the clinic were accepted for ongoing treatment. The number was at 15 in 2016 and 13 in 2015. The clinic will screen any child, newborn to age 18.

Jurkovich said parents can call ahead and make appointments by phone, but walk-ins are also accepted. The clinic will take place in the Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center at 1300 Anne St. NW from 8:30-11:30 a.m. To make an appointment, call (612) 596-6105.

This week is Shrine Week in Bemidji, capping off with the Shrine Game on Saturday as Bemidji State University takes on the University of Minnesota-Crookston at 4 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium. The Shrine Parade is set for downtown at 1 p.m.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

(218) 333-9791