DCH News

Driscoll to hold press conference launching 'Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat' ad campaign

May 24, 2012
Event on National Heat Awareness Day will include hot-car demonstration

CORPUS CHRISTI - Since 1998, more than 520 children have died as a result of heat stroke in cars - an average of 38 per year. Texas leads all states with 80 deaths. Sadly, about half of the children are forgotten when drivers arrive at their destination. Some drivers become distracted and forget they have a child in the back seat and continue their routine. In other situations, children were either playing in an unattended car and were unable to get out or were intentionally left by an adult "for just a few minutes." It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car.

In an effort to prevent these incidents from happening in South Texas, the Injury Prevention Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital has partnered with Kohl's Department Stores to launch an ad campaign promoting the message, "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat," on Corpus Christi city buses and billboards in Laredo and Victoria. Representatives from Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, the City of Corpus Christi Fire Department and Child Protective Services will hold a press conference at the hospital May 25 that will include a city bus with the campaign ad and a hot-car demonstration.

"Thanks to our partnership with Kohl's and the Keep Your Kids Safe initiative, we will be able to increase awareness and spread this important message," said Maricruz Cantu, Injury Prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

The community is urged to remember the acronym "ACT," Cantu said:

Avoid hyperthermia-related deaths by never leaving a child alone in a car and always locking doors and trunks;
Create reminders and habits for parents and caregivers to serve as a safety net to ensure the child isn't forgotten in the back seat;
Take action if a child is seen unattended in a vehicle by immediately calling 911.

The bottom line to avoid tragedies, Cantu added, is to "make it a habit to check the back seat every time you exit and remember to never leave a child alone in a car. Whether you are a parent, caregiver or community member, we can all help save lives and prevent tragedies."

What: "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car" ad campaign press conference
When: 10 a.m. Friday, May 25
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St. (front lawn)

Driscoll, Stripes announce early achievement of $1 million commitment to hospital

May 09, 2012
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will celebrate a $1 million goal being reached a year early when officials from the Stripes Convenience Stores chain announce the totals of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Balloon Campaign held April 2-29, 2012. Representing Stripes will be Sam L. Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corporation and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer for Stripes.

"It is a remarkable corporate commitment for Stripes to have raised over $1 million in four years, a full year ahead of their original five-year commitment," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts on our behalf.

"Stripes has made a dramatic difference in assisting Driscoll Children's Hospital to improve and expand the support services we offer for patients and their families. Any time you can make a child's hospital stay more pleasant, or even enjoyable, you have invested in that child's future. We are pleased to recognize and celebrate Stripes' significant fundraising accomplishments on behalf of the Stripes Child Life Program partnership."

Recognizing that being hospitalized can be stressful, the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is run by child development specialists who provide support for patients and their families to make their experience as positive as possible.

"Stripes' commitment goes beyond providing excellent service to its customers," Susser said. "Giving back to our communities is important to us because it supports our values and strengthens our communities. Stripes' 8,000 team members fundraise and volunteer for programs throughout the year designed to enhance the health and education of children residing in the communities where we serve. Our team knows firsthand that Driscoll saves children's lives and we are very proud to make a multi-year commitment to help support the hospital reach kids throughout South Texas."

Through the Stripes partnership, Driscoll has hired three additional child life specialists, created teen rooms for patients' entertainment during their hospital stay, conducted hundreds of positive activities from bingo to movie nights and formed special support groups to help patients and families who may be dealing with chronic illnesses cope with their challenges.

What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital campaign announcement
When: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor play area, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll, Stripes to announce landmark accomplishment

May 07, 2012
WHAT: Officials with Driscoll Children's Hospital and Stripes will hold a press conference to provide an update on the $1 million commitment the convenience store chain made to Driscoll in 2009, including the impact of the Stripes Child Life Program and other projects made possible by the funds.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor playroom, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Goodman to oversee Driscoll's Transport & Outreach Services

May 02, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jeremy Goodman has been promoted to director of Transport and Outreach Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. He has been with the hospital since 2005 and most recently served as business operations manager for Transport Services and the neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, Goodman was instrumental in working with HALO-Flight, Inc. to secure a dedicated helicopter service for Driscoll that has resulted in a 45 percent increase in helicopter transports. He has been successful in bringing the national certification course for transport dispatchers to Driscoll and is currently working to establish a high-risk infant follow-up clinic at the hospital. Goodman holds a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on healthcare administration.

Driscoll residents use grant to help families at women's shelter

April 30, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI - This month, two second-year residents at Driscoll Children's Hospital used a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to vaccinate children, educate families about vaccination and research barriers to vaccination at the Women's Shelter of South Texas.

Shuya Wu, MD and Santiago Encalada, MD received a prestigious Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant for $3,000 from the AAP to implement the project.

"We noticed that children at the Women's Shelter oftentimes had not received required vaccinations, leaving them vulnerable to disease," Dr. Wu said.

Lori Anderson, MD, pediatrician at Amistad Community Health Center, served as the continuity clinic physician and mentor for the project, Dr. Wu said. Dr. Anderson also helped by providing supplies for the immunizations and obtaining vaccines from the state. Through their partnership with the Women's Shelter, doctors Wu and Encalada administered questionnaires to families to learn about the barriers they were experiencing in getting vaccinations for their children.

CATCH grants of up to $3,000 are awarded twice a year on a competitive basis to pediatric residents to address the needs of children in their communities. Applicants for the grants must include planning activities for their projects and in some cases implementation activities, according to the AAP.

Advisory Council recognizes Driscoll trauma coordinator

April 26, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Janet Pointer, critical care trauma coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council (CBRAC) for Trauma Service Area U. Pointer, who has served as the education chairperson for CBRAC-U, was recognized for bringing many educational opportunities to the region's medical personnel including those in emergency medical services, nursing, respiratory therapy and other specialties. CBRAC-U's mission is to facilitate coordination of trauma service providers to ensure the most efficient, consistent and expeditious care of anyone who may experience an acute injury by developing and maintaining integrated quality processes in patient care, research, education and injury prevention. Trauma Service Area U represents more than 560,000 people in the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Jim Wells, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio.

Credit union helps lucky Driscoll patients see Disney on Ice show

April 25, 2012
WHAT: Twelve Driscoll Children's Hospital patients and their parent or guardian will gather at the hospital's lobby and depart for the Disney on Ice show at the American Bank Center, courtesy of Navy Army Community Credit Union, who purchased the trip for $6,500 at this year's Fiesta de los Niños live auction. Transportation will be provided by TLC The Limo Company.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, April 26

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll patient, his mother consider transplant team family

April 23, 2012
Ryan Sepulveda, 17, has had two kidney transplants, the most recent in June 2011 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Ryan Sepulveda, 17, has had two kidney transplants, the most recent in June 2011 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Sepulvedas look forward to hospital's annual Transplant Reunion April 28

CORPUS CHRISTI - A gleam comes to Ryan Sepulveda's eyes and a smile to his face when he recalls a three-legged race he ran with Driscoll Children's Hospital physician Samhar Al-Akash, MD at the hospital's Transplant Reunion a couple of years ago.

"I fell down and he had to carry me," Ryan, 17, said as he began laughing. "It was fun. I want to do it again this year."

Ryan is referring to Driscoll's Transplant Reunion that will be held April 28 at West Guth Park - his third to attend. The annual event, a celebration for Driscoll's 55 kidney transplant patients and their families, will include moon bounces, games of all sorts, prizes and food. Most importantly, it will be a chance for the patients and families to visit, share their experiences and have fun. Between 150-175 people are expected to attend.

"This is our way of saying 'thank you' to the families for their trust and for sharing their kids with us not only in sickness but also in health," said Dr. Al-Akash, head of nephrology and medical director of Driscoll's Kidney Center.

Ryan's kidney transplant at Driscoll in June 2011 was his second. He had been sick for a year, said his mother, Amy Sepulveda, because the kidney he received 12 years ago at a hospital in Galveston was failing.

"His body was rejecting the first kidney. We were lucky it lasted 12 years."

Sepulveda said she was relieved when Driscoll began performing kidney transplants in 2007, not least because her family no longer had to travel to Galveston for Ryan's treatment. Her appreciation for Driscoll's transplant team is deep and emotional.

"The whole team is awesome, from the girls at the front desk to the social workers and the doctors," Sepulveda said, her eyes welling up. "They make you feel like family. Dr. Al-Akash cared about Ryan like he was his own child. Oh my God, I can't say anything better...we couldn't do without this hospital."

Ryan, a high school sophomore, said he feels fine these days. He hopes to become a catcher in major league baseball. Asked if he's been scared during the surgeries he's endured, including gall bladder removal by Driscoll pediatric surgeon Stephen Almond, MD, he put on a carefree face.

"I wasn't scared because of the way (the doctors) talked to me. They told me everything was going to be OK. I believed them."

Dr. Al-Akash is looking forward to the April 28 Transplant Reunion and, as he said, "... blending together as humans, friends and families, not patients and doctors. The reunion celebrates these kids and their families and reminds us what is important in life."

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Transplant Reunion
When: Noon Saturday, April 28
Where: West Guth Park, 9725 Up River Rd.

Driscoll patients go to Spurs game courtesy of generous donors

April 20, 2012
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. purchased the package for $35,000 and will be attending the game with the patients. Transportation will be provided by TLC The Limo Company.

WHEN: 2:45 p.m. Sunday, April 22

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll Children's GALA kicks off tonight in Mercedes

April 20, 2012
WHAT: Driscoll Children's Hospital and Whataburger present Driscoll Children's GALA, a fundraiser to be held tonight at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center in Mercedes. Formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, the GALA will benefit Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics and the children who are treated there. It will include cocktails, a barbecue dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing to the music of Scott Randolph & The White Lightning Band.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20

WHERE: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center, 1000 N. Texas Ave., Mercedes

INFO: Reagan Florence, (956) 688-1239 or reagan.florence@dchstx.org