DCH News

Shortage of donor breast milk affecting Driscoll

July 05, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin, which provides donated, pasteurized human breast milk to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) throughout Texas and other states, is experiencing a shortage that is affecting the supply at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"The shortage is due to a lack of donors and a lack of community awareness about the Mothers' Milk Bank," said Driscoll Lactation Program Coordinator Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC. "We always try to keep extra donor milk in our freezer so as to be prepared for any new admissions. The babies we have on donor milk at present do not have mothers who are able to provide their own milk."

Beck said she has been trying to order 200 bottles of donor milk a week for Driscoll patients but has only been able to obtain 50 bottles at a time. Each bottle contains three ounces of milk.

Mother's milk is the preferred choice of nutrition for babies and donor milk is the second, Beck said. The Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin screens all potential donors to ensure safety, pasteurizes the milk and freezes it as a sterile product. NICUs in 14 states order the milk for critically ill newborns, especially preemies.

Lactating mothers can help by donating their milk. The first step is to call the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin at 1-877-813-6455 for a phone interview. After completing an application process, they can drop off their milk at Mom's Place at Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mom's Place is a drop-off site for the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin and a storehouse for breast milk that is used to feed infants at Driscoll. It is also a breastfeeding resource center for mothers with a baby in Driscoll and a private place for them to pump milk.

For more information about the milk donation process, mothers can call Beck at (361) 694-5338 or go to the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin's web site at www.milkbank.org.

Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to ranchers, visitors alike

June 27, 2011
RIO GRANDE CITY - On Friday, July 8, young 4-H members and the Starr County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics will begin at 11 a.m. at R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd. in Rio Grande City.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers and visitors alike, such as agricultural products, gardening supplies, arts and crafts, hardware supplies and jewelry. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will be used to support Driscoll's clinics in the Rio Grande Valley, including Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (956) 223-0687 or call the Starr County Extension Office at (956) 487-2306 or (956) 534-4911.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 11 a.m. Friday, July 8

  • Where: R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd., Rio Grande City

  • Information: (956) 487-2306, (956) 534-4911 or (956) 223-0687

24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp coming to Three Rivers

June 20, 2011
THREE RIVERS - On Monday, June 27, young 4-H members and the Live Oak County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at noon at the Live Oak Livestock Auction between Three Rivers and George West on Highway 281.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors like baked goods, restaurant gift certificates, canned goods, garden produce and leather goods. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Live Oak County Commission Office at (361) 449-1703.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: Noon Monday, June 27

  • Where: Live Oak Livestock Auction, Three Rivers

  • Information: (361) 449-1703 or (361) 694-6401

No spurs required at Cattlemen's RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

June 20, 2011
HALLETTSVILLE - On Tuesday, June 28, young 4-H members in Lavaca County and the Lavaca County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at noon at the Hallettsville Livestock Commission, 140 S. Auction Ring Rd.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers, homemakers and visitors alike. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Lavaca County Extension Office at (361) 798-2221.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: Noon Tuesday, June 28

  • Where: Hallettsville Livestock Commission, 140 S. Auction Ring Rd.

  • Information: (361) 798-2221 or (361) 694-6401

Beeville RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

June 16, 2011
BEEVILLE - On Friday, June 24, young 4-H members in Bee County and the Beeville Livestock Commission will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at noon at the Beeville Livestock Commission on Highway 59.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers, homemakers and visitors alike. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or the Bee County Extension Office at (361) 362-3280.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: Noon Friday, June 24

  • Where: Beeville Livestock Commission, Highway 59

  • Information: (361) 362-3280 or (361) 694-6401

Brownsville family's fighting spirit aiding boy battling cancer

June 13, 2011
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ada Escobedo will never forget the date: Dec. 15, 2010. That's when, half in shock, she drove her 8-year-old son, Matthew Carroll, from their home in Brownsville to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi to have a tumor checked out in his left leg. They had just seen an orthopedic specialist in Brownsville who recommended she take him there.

"We drove there the same day," Escobedo said. "At Driscoll they took blood tests, X-rays and did a biopsy. That's when they told us it was a malignant tumor and he needed to start on chemotherapy treatments. It was just really quick. It was a really sad Christmas for us."

For about two weeks before Dec. 15, Matthew and his family thought he had sprained his ankle while playing football at school. He complained about lingering pain after some friends fell on top of him. The first doctor they went to thought it was a normal sports injury that would go away, Escobedo said. Another doctor diagnosed it as a sprain or fracture.

At Driscoll Children's Hospital, it was found that Matthew actually had osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. It is the most common type of bone tumor in children, with 150 to 200 new cases diagnosed per year, said hematologist/oncologist Nkechi Mba, M.D., one of Matthew's physicians at Driscoll.

"We see on average 2 to 3 new patients with osteosarcoma each year at Driscoll," Dr. Mba said.

Despite the diagnosis and her son's chemotherapy treatments, which often made him sick, Escobedo stayed strong for her family.

"I didn't have time to cry," she said. "We just started fighting. It's been like one fight after another against the cancer."

As bad as the news was for Matthew and his family, it got worse. After three months of chemotherapy treatments, the cancer was spreading rapidly up his left leg. The decision was made that he would have to lose the leg. It was amputated from the knee down in March 2011.

"That was really, really hurtful," Escobedo said. "But we knew we had to do it because we had no other way. If he wouldn't have lost his leg he wouldn't be with us."

Depending on the location of the tumor, amputation is one of the surgical options for patients with osteosarcoma, Dr. Mba said.

Escobedo said Matthew is doing better now after the amputation and that his cancer is almost gone. He comes to Driscoll regularly for weeks at a time for chemotherapy treatments. Because it's difficult for Escobedo to take off work frequently, Matthew usually rides a bus with his grandfather from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. His grandfather, José Barrón, stays at the Ronald McDonald House next to Driscoll when he isn't at Matthew's bedside.

"The Ronald McDonald House has been like my home," said Barrón, who considers Matthew a son.

Matthew also receives care at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville. Escobedo takes him there for occasional check-ups, blood work and X-rays. Recently, when he was sick and had a fever, she took him to the clinic and was given antibiotics.

"It makes me feel safer that the clinic is right there," Escobedo said. "I have no words to express the gratitude I have for their care."

During a recent stay at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Matthew said although the chemotherapy makes him nauseous and vomit, he knows he needs it. Sitting on his hospital bed, he talked about what he misses in a shy, whispered voice.

"I miss going to school, playing sports and walking," he said. "I use crutches. They help me but it's not like really walking."

Matthew is normally an "A" honor roll student who loves school, Escobedo said, but because he has missed so much school, he will have to repeat the second grade through home-schooling when his chemotherapy is over. He currently has about nine weeks of chemotherapy treatments to go, Dr. Mba said.

Her son loves sports too, Escobedo said. Looking to the future, she isn't sure how Matthew will adjust to missing out on playing football and other sports with his friends.

"I don't think anybody can adjust to that," she said. "But we have God in our hearts. We're going to let him guide us the right way."

Camp Easy Breathers marks 10 years of helping asthmatic children have fun while coping with their condition

June 10, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - There is no cure for asthma, but children with the disease can live a healthy, active life. The 10th annual Camp Easy Breathers, a summer day-camp for children with persistent asthma, is designed to provide physical and social experiences that are fun while increasing a child's understanding of his or her asthma. The camp, sponsored by Driscoll Children's Hospital, the Coastal Bend Community Foundation and the Coastal Bend Asthma Initiative, will be from June 12-15, 2011 at Camp Aranzazu in Rockport.

For its 10th anniversary, Camp Easy Breathers will offer a new, more hands-on approach with more interactive asthma lessons than in years past.

"We wanted to make it more fun for our new campers, and especially for those campers who are returning for a second or even third year," said Shelly Bigelow, camp director and respiratory therapist at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "Our new curriculum was developed in keeping with our goal of improving the lives of children with asthma."

Bigelow said the camp utilizes interactive teaching methods such as open dialogue, various media, activities and game-play that reinforce key lessons to help children:

  • Understand asthma and how it affects them;

  • Recognize and avoid asthma attack triggers;

  • Recognize warning signs to improve asthma management;

  • Know how and when to take medicine;

  • Stay healthy and stay in school.


There will also be a carnival this year with games, obstacle courses and other activities, Bigelow said. Regular activities will include swimming, arts and crafts, outdoor games, sports and an awards show.

Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways in the lungs become swollen, clogged and overly sensitive to changes in the environment. During an attack, the muscles that surround the airways tighten and the inner lining of the airways swells and pushes inward.

Asthma kills about 5,000 Americans each year and costs the United States more than $10 billion a year in direct and indirect medical expenses. Timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, partnership with a healthcare professional and reduction of exposure to environmental factors are some of the things that help children living with asthma.


  • What: 10th annual Camp Easy Breathers

  • When: June 12-15, 2011

  • Where: Camp Aranzazu, Rockport

Joyal accepts director position at Driscoll

June 07, 2011
Priscilla Joyal
Priscilla Joyal
CORPUS CHRISTI - Priscilla Joyal, RN, has accepted the position of director of the 6th and 8th floors (towers) at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Joyal holds a master's degree in nursing and is a certified pediatric nurse. She has been a nurse at Driscoll for more than 14 years, and has served as the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) clinical coordinator in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for the past nine years.

Joyal chairs the Patient Care Quality and Satisfaction Council and will continue to do so in her new role, which began on June 6.

Children become anglers for a day at annual Chemo Kids Fish Off

June 03, 2011
ARANSAS PASS - The much-anticipated Chemo Kids Fish Off, scheduled for June 6 at Hampton's Landing Marina in Aransas Pass, is an annual excursion that allows children with cancer to take their minds off chemotherapy for a day and concentrate on catching fish with their favorite Driscoll staff members.

More than 50 children, ages 5 - 18, will venture out to waters in guide-driven boats in hopes to catch the most fish. When the junior anglers return to dry land, volunteers will be on hand to weigh fish and help patients make a print of the catch of the day. Patients are also treated to a hotdog lunch and each is recognized at an awards ceremony. The Chemo Kids Fish Off has become a tradition that kids look forward to every summer!

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's Annual Chemo Kids Fish Off

When: Boats return, 11 a.m., June 6

Where: Hampton's Landing Marina, 430 E. Ransom Rd., Aransas Pass

Driscoll offers speakers for clubs, organizations

June 03, 2011
Nephrologist Samhar Al-Akash, M.D., gives a presentation on Driscoll's kidney transplant program to a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Corpus Christi Bay.
Nephrologist Samhar Al-Akash, M.D., gives a presentation on Driscoll's kidney transplant program to a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Corpus Christi Bay.
Do you belong to a club such as the Rotary, Optimist or Kiwanis club? Does your organization ever need guest speakers for meetings? Driscoll Children's Hospital has some of the most knowledgeable pediatric physicians and healthcare providers you'll find anywhere. We are anxious to share our wealth of information with the community by offering speakers to clubs and organizations. Our experts can speak on a variety of subjects in the pediatric field such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Kidney transplants

  • Infectious diseases

  • Plastic & reconstructive surgery

  • Child abuse

  • Cancer

  • Healthcare careers

  • Obesity

  • Nutrition

  • Heart disease

  • Genetics

  • Neurology

  • Psychiatry

  • Pediatric trends


Since 1953, Driscoll Children's Hospital has been a beacon of hope and healing for children throughout South Texas. We take pride in being a part of the community, and this is one of the ways we're reaching out. Whether your club or organization is large or small, please contact us the next time you need a speaker. You can reach us at (361) 694-5662 or michael.bratten@sbcglobal.net.