Driscoll nurse cares for babies where she was once a tiny patient
October 07, 2013
Chris Donald's story is third in Driscoll Children's Hospital's 60th anniversary series
Christianna "Chris" Donald, 25, cares for an infant in Driscoll Children's Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, where she was treated as a newborn.
CORPUS CHRISTI - In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Driscoll Children's Hospital, tiny babies sleep tranquilly in incubators amid the occasional whispers of nurses and the faint beeps and hums of medical equipment. Infants from all over South Texas are brought here to be treated for disease, injury, complications due to premature birth and numerous other maladies.
With gloved hands, registered nurse Christianna "Chris" Donald gently adjusts a tube connected to a boy less than a month old from the Rio Grande Valley. He was born with congenital heart defects, and Donald has a special bond with him. As a newborn nearly 26 years ago, she was a patient in this same unit for the same reason.
"He's going to have the exact same surgeries I had," she said.
Donald was admitted to Driscoll's NICU within 24 hours of being born, she said. One of her lungs kept collapsing and tubes called catheters had to be inserted into her chest. Her heart was missing two heart valves and a one ventricle - conditions that required surgery. (Ventricles are chambers on each side of the heart that receive blood and force it into the arteries.) Donald underwent three open heart surgeries by age 4; two were performed at Driscoll and one in Minnesota.
Although she recovered successfully, Donald's condition meant she would need medical attention for the rest of her life. She was 12 years old the last time she was a patient at Driscoll, she said, and she remains under the care of a cardiologist.
Her surgeries at such a young age naturally worried Donald's parents. Her mother became close to her doctors and nurses at Driscoll and remembers their names to this day. So it didn't surprise Donald when her mother gave her a list of nurses to look for when she started working at Driscoll in August 2012.
"My family liked Driscoll's nurses the best," she said. "They were the most genuine."
One of the people who treated Donald at Driscoll 25 years ago, cardiologist Billy Rios, MD, continues to be a positive influence in her life. Dr. Rios, who still practices at Driscoll, was her cardiologist until just a few months ago.
"First I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist because I wanted to be just like him," Donald said. "I send him Christmas cards every year."
Many letters, photos and cards from current and former patients are displayed along a wall in Dr. Rios' office. He pointed out several mementos from Donald that range from when she was a baby to when she graduated from college.
"I treat all my patients as if they were my own," Dr. Rios said. "I'm very proud of Chris and all she's accomplished. She never gave up. I've watched her grow up, through different stages, and she was always in good spirits, always asking questions and wanting to learn everything she could. Nothing was going to deter her from accomplishing her goals."
Donald ultimately decided to pursue nursing, graduating from Texas Tech University in 2010. She began working in a NICU in Lubbock shortly afterward. But it was when she returned to Driscoll's NICU as a nurse that she felt her life had come full circle.
"I understand the parents' fears now," she said. "I feel for them. I want to give their child the best care I can because nurses can make an impact, like they did in my life."
Giving children and families hope is important to Donald too. She has volunteered at Camp Hearty, a summer camp for children with congenital heart defects that Driscoll sponsors annually in Rockport,
and she often offers support to families in the NICU.
"Chris has an outstanding ability to connect with the babies and families in the NICU," said Ana Olivera-Hamm, a chaplain at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Donald's friend. "Not only is she a NICU survivor and graduate, but a conqueror. Only God could have ordained her healing and her calling to become a healer herself."
Donald is as healthy as she is happy. She hasn't had any major complications from her heart condition, and a daily dose of blood pressure medication is one of the few reminders of her ordeal. She has even backpacked across Alaska with her parents, where they now live, she said. And, with a husband who is in pharmacy school, she is focused on the future and having children.
Nevertheless, she doesn't take her good health for granted.
"All my life I've been given a finite number of years to live - maybe 12 years, maybe more," Donald said. "Now I'm told I'll probably have a normal lifespan. You either get devastated because your life may be short or you make the best of it. It's in God's hands."
This is the third in a series of stories about extraordinary patients that Driscoll Children's Hospital is sharing throughout 2013 as part of its 60th anniversary celebration.
Driscoll's Teddy Bear Hospital is a chance for patients to be the doctors
April 08, 2014
WHAT: Patients will be the doctors tomorrow during a Teddy Bear Hospital organized by the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital. The event allows children to become more familiar with the medical equipment and procedures involved in their treatment. They'll choose their teddy bear, give it a name and, with the help of Child Life Specialists and other Driscoll staff, measure its height and weight, place an IV and draw labs, give it an X-ray, attach an anesthesia mask for surgery and put an arm or leg in a cast. The Teddy Bear Hospital and the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital are made possible by a $1 million donation from Stripes convenience stores.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, 2014
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
April is Child Safety Month
April 01, 2014
Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program team
CORPUS CHRISTI - Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age one through 12 years old. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash data, in 2010 almost an average of two children were killed and 325 were injured each day. This fatality rate could be reduced by half if the correct child safety seat had been used. Here are some great tips from Driscoll Children's Hospital and Kohl's Cares to help protect your child while in the car.
Car seat recommendations for children:
- Select a car seat based on your child's age and size.
- Choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer's instructions; read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
- To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
Birth - 12 months
- Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 seats usually have higher weight limits, allowing children to stay rear-facing longer.
1 - 3 years
- Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Your child should remain rear-facing until he or she reaches the maximum height and weight allowed for the seat.
4 - 7 years
- Your child should stay in a forward-facing seat with harness until he or she reaches the maximum height and weight limit allowed for the seat. Once the child has outgrown the harness, the child is now ready for a booster seat.
8 - 12 years
- Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit into a seat belt properly. The law in Texas requires all children younger than 8 years old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to be properly restrained in a child safety seat.
Kohl's Keep Your Kids Safe, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program, in partnership with Kohl's Cares, offers free car seat inspections. To make an appointment and have your car seat checked to ensure the safety of your child, call (361) 694-6700. http://www.keepyourkidssafe-kck.com/
Driscoll patients go to Spurs game courtesy of generous donors
March 28, 2014
WHAT: Five Driscoll Children's Hospital patients and their parents or guardians will gather at the hospital's lobby and depart for San Antonio to see a Spurs game as part of a live auction package purchased at this year's Fiesta de los Niños. Steve and Jessica Johnson of JSJ Services, Inc. have purchased this item at Fiesta for the last six years, donating a total of $152,250 to Driscoll Children's Hospital.
WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll patients to be treated to Child Life Month celebration
March 10, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will celebrate Child Life Month with a superhero-themed party for in-house patients tomorrow. The sixth annual event is designed to make hospitalization a little more pleasant for children by providing a distraction from their illness and an opportunity for socialization, self-expression and normalization.
March is Child Life Month
"Child Life professionals strive to promote coping and reduce anxiety of children and their families. They embrace the power of play to teach children about their diagnosis, prepare for and support during painful procedures," said Michelle Goodman, director of the fourth floor and the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll.
Driscoll Children's Hospital began a Child Life program in 1985. Today, Driscoll has nine Child Life Specialists who provide service to the Emergency Room, in-patient units 4T, 6T and 7T, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Renal Dialysis, Driscoll's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Day Surgery and Radiology.
Activities at the celebration will include face painting, making their own superhero masks and capes, superhero bowling and dart board, and photo booth. Employees from Stripes convenience stores will provide a carnival-style prize wheel and store coupons.
- What: Child Life Month Superhero Celebration for Driscoll patients
- When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
12th annual Radiothon will broadcast live from Driscoll Children's Hospital
March 05, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Friday, March 7, K-99 (KRYS 99.1 FM) will team up with Driscoll Children's Hospital for the 12th annual Radiothon. The one-day event will be broadcasted live from the main lobby at Driscoll Children's Hospital beginning at 6 a.m.
Listeners can tune in to hear patients, parents, physicians and staff share inspirational stories of hope and healing. Over the past decade, K-99 listeners have helped raise more than $500,000 to benefit the patients and services provided at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
For more information or to donate, contact Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6401.
- What: 12th annual K-99 Radiothon benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital
- When: 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, March 7
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Valdez brings neurology expertise to Driscoll
February 26, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - Marcos Valdez, MD, has joined Children's Physician Services of South Texas at Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric neurologist. Dr. Valdez was previously in private practice in McAllen, Texas for 10 years. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Scott & White Memorial Hospital - Texas A&M College of Medicine in 1999 and a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at Texas Children's Hospital - Baylor College of Medicine in 2003. Dr. Valdez earned his medical degree in 1987 at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon Medical School in Mexico. He is certified in neurology with a special qualification in child neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Páez receives certification in pediatric endocrinology
February 17, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ana Maria Páez, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently passed an exam administered by the American Board of Pediatrics and is certified in pediatric endocrinology. Dr. Páez completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she performed her pediatric residency from 2007 to 2010. She joined Driscoll in 2013.
Booth receives certification in child abuse pediatrics
February 17, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ada Booth, MD, child abuse pediatrician with Driscoll Children's Hospital's Child Abuse Resource Evaluation (CARE) Team, recently passed an exam administered by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and is certified in child abuse pediatrics. Dr. Booth graduated from a child abuse pediatrics fellowship at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in 2011. She is also certified by the ABP in pediatrics.
Driscoll pediatric cardiologist recognized as distinguished alumnus at Louisiana Tech University
February 17, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll pediatric cardiologist Brandon Lane Phillips, MD, FAAP, FACC, was recently recognized by The College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University as one of 14 of their 2014 Distinguished Alumni. Chosen alumni have distinguished themselves during their careers and in service to the university.
Dr. Phillips joined Driscoll in 2012 and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. In 2010, Dr. Phillips completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. His clinical interests include non-invasive imaging, outpatient cardiology and adult congenital cardiology.
Mayoral proclamation will be read at Driscoll Children's Hospital for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness
February 13, 2014
CORPUS CHRISTI - The week of Feb. 10-14 is recognized in the US as Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week (see www.tchin.org/aware/). In an effort to bring awareness to the community, Driscoll Children's Hospital has arranged for Corpus Christi Mayor Pro Tem Chad Magill to proclaim Feb. 14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. The proclamation will be read at Driscoll Children's Hospital in the Auditorium at 3 p.m. during a CHD celebration for hospital staff.
What: Mayoral proclamation for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
When: 3 p.m. Feb. 14
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital (Auditorium - 1st floor) 3533 S. Alameda Corpus Christi, TX 78411.