A $10-million donation is bringing together Montreal's four leading pediatric institutions to help children with musculoskeletal disorders.

The goal of the collaboration is to help improve communication between Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada, the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and CHU Sainte-Justine and its Marie-Enfant Rehabilitation Centre as they treat children who have complex conditions and are often followed by several hospitals at once.

Called MUSCO, the initiative is made possible by a donation from the Lino and Mirella Saputo Foundation.

Doctors and specialists think it could serve as a model to revolutionize patient care and services in Quebec.

“I do the surgery at the Shriners. The patient goes to Marie-Enfant for the rehabilitation, and there is something missing: a care manager of these patients. Very often they don't know who to contact in the other hospitals, they don't know the follow-up. So what this initiative will do is that there will be one person or two people who will be responsible for the movement of the patient and the family between the four hospitals,” explained Shriners orthopedic surgeon Dr. Reggie Hamdy.

It will also help the physician, said Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer, a neurosurgeon at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Sometimes we'd like to send our patient for a consultation elsewhere and it's difficult to organize, so it's a lot about patient flow across hospitals,” he said.

Some 450 patients are transferred among the four pediatric medical centres each year. It's expected the collaboration will shorten waiting lists and prevent duplication of services.

Former patient Luca Patuelli said he lived through a lot of broken telephone over the years.

“Growing up I had a total of 16 surgeries,” he said. “There could be some sort of procedure that happened two years ago and if that isn't shared with the new doctor, then that can definitely affect the outcome.”

Donor Mirella Saputo said it's an exciting day for her own family.

“It's very emotional because I've seen a lot of these children. I've seen what they go through and just being able to think we'd be able to do something, it makes my day. It helps my soul,” she said.