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Support group offers help for grieving children, their parents
October 04, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - When a loved one dies, adults and children both grieve. However, children grieve differently than adults, according to Nora Besinaiz, child life specialist at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Recognizing that there are few programs in the community to help children through the grieving process, Driscoll Children's Hospital has developed the Lean on Me program.
"Children need a special place where they can go," Besinaiz said. "They need to be around other children experiencing the loss of a loved one. This helps them learn that they're not the only ones grieving. They don't have to grieve alone and wonder about their feelings."
Lean on Me is a structured, six-week program for children ages 6 years and older that begins on Oct. 6. It includes bereavement curriculum specially designed for children, and each session builds on the previous one. With the guidance of Driscoll's chaplains and child life specialists, children will be encouraged during meetings to express their feelings by discussion or through art or writing.
Parents and caregivers are also included in the Lean on Me program because the death of a loved one affects the whole family, Besinaiz said. Adults will meet for bereavement sessions with Driscoll's social workers and chaplains while the children's group meets.
"Our goal is to give the family tools and ways to help them talk to each other and support each other when they're not with us in the one-hour sessions," Besinaiz said.
Besinaiz said the fall session of Lean on Me was planned before the holidays because for many families it may be the first holiday season without their loved one, and holidays typically are the toughest times for those who are grieving.
There is no charge to participate in the Lean on Me program. Driscoll only asks that families - children and their parents or caregivers - commit to attend the six-week program. Babysitting will not be available during the program.
- What: Lean on Me program for children ages 6 years and older and their parents or caregivers
- When: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 6 through Nov. 10
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, fifth floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.
- Information/registration: Nora Besinaiz, (361) 694-5763
Pulmonologist comes to Driscoll from New York
October 04, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Pediatric pulmonologist Jon Roberts, MD, FCCP, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital after practicing in New York. He completed his pediatric residency and pulmonary fellowship training at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola in 2006. Dr. Roberts earned his medical degree from New York Medical College School of Medicine in Valhalla in 2000, and he is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
Wilson retires as chairman of Driscoll's governing board
September 26, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - It was announced today that C. Ivan Wilson is retiring from his position as chairman of Driscoll Children's Hospital's governing board. He had been the board chairman for 10 years and will remain a member of the board. Wilson became a trustee of the Robert Driscoll and Julia Driscoll and Robert Driscoll Jr. Foundation in 1982 and a member of the governing board in 1983. He has long been a champion of high-quality healthcare for the children of South Texas, and his dedication to Driscoll has inspired all who interacted with him. Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal will replace Wilson as chairman of Driscoll's governing board.
C. Ivan Wilson has long been a champion of high-quality healthcare for the children of South Texas.
Perinatologist joins Driscoll Children's Hospital
September 26, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Perinatologist Ryan Loftin, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital and Maternal Fetal Medicine of South Texas. Dr. Loftin comes to South Texas after completing a three-year fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his medical doctorate in 2003 at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. From 2003 to 2004 he trained as a Paul Ambrose Fellow at the New Hampshire - Dartmouth Family Practice and Leadership-Preventive Medicine residencies in Concord, NH. He then began a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, which he completed in 2008.
Car seat inspection event will be hosted by Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, community partners
September 23, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 3-14 years old. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that roughly three out of four child safety seats are not used correctly. Many parents are unaware that their child's car seat is not properly installed or realize their child is not fitted correctly into their car seat.
Through a partnership with the All Star Mitsubishi dealership, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program and community partners urge parents and caregivers to have their children's car seat checked on National Seat Check Day, Saturday, Sept. 24. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to inspect car seats and provide hands-on advice. They will also focus on reminding the community to "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car." Forty-nine children died from heat stroke while unattended in cars in 2010 - the worst year on record. Texas led all states with 13 deaths.
"We want to remind the community to make sure kids are buckled up in an appropriate child safety seat every time," said Maricruz Cantu, injury prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "We need to give kids the best opportunity of surviving a crash and avoiding serious injuries. We also want to make sure kids are not left alone in vehicles not even for a minute and to make it a habit to always check the back seat."
The current Texas law on child passenger safety requires all kids younger than 8 years old - unless they're taller than 4 feet 9 inches - be properly restrained in a child safety seat.
Updated recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type as they grow. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit their local inspection station to ensure their children's car seats are used properly:
- Birth - 12 months
For the best possible protection, any child under age 1 should always ride 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 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing parents to keep their child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
- 1 - 3 years
The child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- 4 - 7 years
Keep the child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
- 8 - 12 years
Keep the child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seatbelt properly. For a seatbelt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
Parents and guardians should remember:
- Select a car seat based on the child's age and size, choose a seat that fits in the vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to the 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 the 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 the child in the back seat at least through age 12.
- What: Children's car seat checks
- When: 10 - 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24
- Where: All Star Mitsubishi, 2440 S. Padre Island Dr.
Driscoll patients to unveil annual holiday cards, gifts they designed
September 20, 2011
Proceeds from sales will go toward scholarships for cancer patients
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll's annual Hollywood-style Celebrity Celebration will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21 to mark the release of the hospital's 2011 holiday card collection, Christmas storybook and holiday gifts. Celebrities at the event are past and present patients who created designs for the items. The media is invited for interviews and photos.
"This is one of the largest annual events we have and the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital is proud to put it on," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services. "We look forward to rolling out the red carpet and putting the spotlight on our little 'stars.'"
For this annual tradition, Driscoll patients from throughout South Texas drew pictures for seven unique holiday cards and a Christmas storybook. They also created designs for a holiday apron, silver angel charm, kitchen towel, t-shirt and two Christmas tree ornaments. A group of community members selected the artwork for the items. Proceeds from their sales will go toward the Marcia K. Wilcox scholarship, which has benefited more than 90 Driscoll cancer patients since its inception.
This year's holiday card artists are:
- Jonathan Arebelo, 5, of Corpus Christi
- Ulisses Cavazos, 8, of Edinburg
- Aidan Flores, 7, of Aransas Pass
- Lily Smith, 8, of Corpus Christi
- Natalie Smith, 10, of Corpus Christi
- Brittney Soliz, 19, of San Diego, Texas
- Cassandra Zepeda, 10, of Corpus Christi
Storybook artists are:
- Brittney Fricks, 11, of Bayside
- Jazel Guzman, 10, of Pharr
- Emily Haefs, 14, of Corpus Christi
- Rickey Jordan, Jr., 15, of Corpus Christi
- Asa Glenn Matis, 13, of Corpus Christi
- Jaclyn Ramirez, 9, of Portland
- Deyanira Reyes, 14, of Brownsville
- Lillian Ruiz, 12, of Hebbronville
- Brittney Soliz, 19, of San Diego, Texas
- Cassandra Zepeda, 10, of Corpus Christi
After the patient-artists enter Driscoll's auditorium on a red carpet amid camera flashes and applause, their artwork will be unveiled for everyone to see. Then they'll autograph their work for family, friends and fans. Following the celebration, the children will be treated to a limo ride to Gattitown for some food and fun.
The holiday cards, Christmas storybook and other items can be purchased through Driscoll's web site, www.driscollchildrens.org, and at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop. For more information, call (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE.
- What: Driscoll Children's Hospital Celebrity Celebration
- When: 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
- Information: (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE
Community invited to get a haircut to benefit cancer patients
September 19, 2011
WHAT: In observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Driscoll Children's Hospital is holding its second annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Hair Cutting event. The community is invited to come and have their hair clipped by local stylists so it can be donated and made into wigs for cancer patients who've lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Food, music and commemorative t-shirts will be featured, and a bloodmobile from the Coastal Bend Blood Center will be on site.
WHEN: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
New partnership to provide faster patient transports to Driscoll Children's Hospital
September 16, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. have begun a partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. Beginning this month, HALO-Flight will dedicate a helicopter exclusively to Driscoll Children's Hospital. This partnership will significantly reduce the time it takes to transport patients to the hospital.
"The purpose of this partnership is to transport newborns, infants and children with life threatening illnesses and injuries to the hospital as fast as possible," said Steve Woerner, president and CEO of Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Helicopters roughly cut transport time in half compared to ambulances, according to Driscoll records. For example, the average round trip by ambulance from Driscoll to a hospital in Brownsville is seven hours. The same round trip by helicopter is around three hours.
"By having a dedicated HALO-Flight helicopter, Driscoll will be able to better serve children throughout our 31-county service area," Woerner said. "This is monumental in our mission of providing hope and healing to the children of South Texas."
Excellent patient care is at the forefront of HALO-Flight's partnership with Driscoll, said Tom Klassen, HALO-Flight, Inc.'s executive director.
"Our goal is to continue to provide advanced critical care utilizing our premier helicopters and the highly skilled flight crews at Driscoll. HALO-Flight is dedicated to ensuring that the children of South Texas have the opportunity for a better chance at life by receiving air ambulance transports. We are two companies who have been, and will continue to be, serving South Texas residents' emergent needs."
Driscoll Children's Hospital is the only major hospital in South Texas to have this partnership with HALO-Flight, according to Patricia Carr, director of Driscoll's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Transport Department. The hospital's service area covers 31 counties and 33,000 square miles, with its level III NICU offering the highest level of care in the area.
Driscoll, HALO-Flight to announce new partnership
September 15, 2011
WHAT: Officials from Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. will hold a press conference to announce a new partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. A helicopter will be unveiled during the event.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital helipad, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Children's Hospital gains pediatric cardiologist
September 15, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Pediatric cardiologist Umang Gupta, MBBS, DCH, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital following a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Gupta received his medical degree in 1998 from Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan University in India. He did residencies in pediatrics at Chittaranjan Seva Sadan College of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Child Health in Calcutta, India and Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center in New York. Dr. Gupta completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Children's Hospital of New Jersey in Newark. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.