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Driscoll's volunteers motivated by more than just care, generosity

April 18, 2012
Dick Hinman, a Driscoll volunteer since 1994, does a magic trick with rubber bands for patient Isaiah Wicke.
Dick Hinman, a Driscoll volunteer since 1994, does a magic trick with rubber bands for patient Isaiah Wicke.
Celebration honoring them to be held at the hospital May 24

CORPUS CHRISTI - For several hours a week, Valerie Caldwell's smiling face is the first thing visitors see at Driscoll Children's Hospital's Welcome Center. Caldwell became a volunteer at Driscoll a year and a half ago after being urged by some friends who are also volunteers.

"You get to see a lot of people coming in and see what's going on in the hospital," Caldwell said of the Welcome Center. "Working here gives me insight into the heart of Driscoll Children's Hospital. And it's a big, compassionate heart. There is a family-oriented feeling here," she went on to say before she stopped to help a visitor sign in.

Caldwell is one of 340 volunteer members of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital who are being recognized for their efforts during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21. On May 24, Driscoll will host a celebration for them with cake and door prizes in the hospital's auditorium. The party's theme will be "A world of diversity...one purpose."

Volunteer Joe Lugo, a Navy veteran, shows Driscoll patient Enrique Llanas, Jr. how to mix colors to paint his papier-maché mask.
Volunteer Joe Lugo, a Navy veteran, shows Driscoll patient Enrique Llanas, Jr. how to mix colors to paint his papier-maché mask.


Driscoll volunteer Valerie Caldwell helps a visitor check in at the hospital's Welcome Center.
Driscoll volunteer Valerie Caldwell helps a visitor check in at the hospital's Welcome Center.
"The Auxiliary's contributions to the hospital are priceless," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll. "We could not do what we do without their thoughtfulness and commitment. I believe the volunteers enrich not only the lives of our patients and families, but their own lives as well."

Saenz's belief rings true with volunteers like Joe Lugo. He can be found helping out in the hospital's fifth floor classroom, where long-term patients keep pace with their school curriculum. While helping some children mix colors to paint the papier-maché masks they were making, Lugo explained that he first began volunteering in the communities he lived in while he was in the Navy.

"Some of the kids I've encountered in the past didn't have a father figure," said Lugo, who retired after serving 20 years in the Navy. "I encourage these children, praise them and they appreciate it. What I've learned over the past year at Driscoll is that these children are more of a blessing to us than we are to them."

Volunteer Dick Hinman, 81, has roamed Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994, entertaining patients with antics and magic tricks. He never leaves a child without a smile.

"This is like recess for me," Hinman said with a kind, grandfatherly voice. "I'm a big kid." A toy mouse peeking from the pocket of his blue smock is Stuart Little's big brother, he pointed out. Then, with seriousness, Hinman echoed the sentiment of other Driscoll volunteers.

"Some of these kids are very sick. Some are having surgery. If you can make their day better it makes yours better too. I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it. It's nothing complicated."

By the numbers:
  • Number of volunteers at Driscoll Children's Hospital: 300
  • Number of volunteers at Driscoll's McAllen and Brownsville clinics: 40
  • Age range of adult volunteers: 18 - 90
  • Number of Driscoll's summer 2012 Volunteens: 85


  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital Volunteer Celebration
  • When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24
  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Community supports children through donations to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen

April 02, 2012
Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair (left) receives plush toys from Tina Coddington, Central Christian School computer and music director.
Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair (left) receives plush toys from Tina Coddington, Central Christian School computer and music director.
McALLEN - The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen recently received generous donations from local businesses and a school that will benefit the young patients of the Rio Grande Valley.

EZ PAWN and their charitable foundation, EZ Corp., donated a check for $2,598 to the Auxiliary. The funds were used to decorate the Medical Plaza's new Nuclear Radiology Clinic with wall art and a waiting area with a TV and large playscape.

The staff at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Palms Crossing donated more than 1,700 reading and activity books to the Auxiliary that will be given to patients as birthday and holiday gifts. The books will also be available in the Medical Plaza's waiting areas for children to enjoy while they're waiting to see a physician.

Also, more than 350 plush toys were donated by the students, administration and staff members of Central Christian School. The toys will be given as gifts to patients at the Medical Plaza throughout the Easter holiday.

The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen relies on contributions from the community to help make medical treatment a positive experience for South Texas children. To donate or inquire about volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE or go to www.driscollchildrens.org and click on "Volunteer."
Woerner
Pictured, left to right, are Gloria Martinez, Driscoll Auxiliary member, Pasqual Rodriguez, Mario Ortiz, Israel Cerda, Vidal Hernandez and Miguel Duran, all with EZ PAWN, and Aida Escobar, Driscoll Auxiliary vice chair.


Menendez
Norma Martinez, assistant store manager at Barnes & Noble Booksellers (left), delivers books to Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair, and George Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary member.

Driscoll, Stripes to throw party for National Child Life Month

March 13, 2012
WHAT: The Stripes Child Life program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is celebrating National Child Life Month by throwing a pirate-themed party for patients. Representatives from Stripes and Driscoll's child life specialists will provide games, activities, prizes and treats for the children.

WHEN: 1-2 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

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

Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger join for GALA to help Rio Grande Valley children

March 08, 2012
Whataburger donated $40,000 toward Driscoll Children's GALA during a press conference March 8 at Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen. Pictured, left to right, are: Earl Massie with Re/Max 1st Choice, Chuck and Rhonda Sellman, GALA co-chairs, Paul McDaniel, GALA co-chair, Dr. Riaz Shareef, medical director of Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen, Hugh Dobson, member of Whataburger's founding family, David Cantu, Whataburger director of operations and Aaron Valdez, Whataburger area supervisor.
Whataburger donated $40,000 toward Driscoll Children's GALA during a press conference March 8 at Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen. Pictured, left to right, are: Earl Massie with Re/Max 1st Choice, Chuck and Rhonda Sellman, GALA co-chairs, Paul McDaniel, GALA co-chair, Dr. Riaz Shareef, medical director of Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen, Hugh Dobson, member of Whataburger's founding family, David Cantu, Whataburger director of operations and Aaron Valdez, Whataburger area supervisor.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - On a daily basis, physicians and staff from Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi travel to Driscoll's specialty clinics in McAllen, Brownsville and Harlingen to treat patients who may have cancer, need a kidney transplant or are suffering from any number of diseases. A significant number of Driscoll's patients live in the Rio Grande Valley.

To benefit the Rio Grande Valley clinics, Driscoll has joined with Whataburger for the Driscoll Children's GALA, a fundraiser to be held April 20 at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center in Mercedes. Formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, the GALA promises a good time for all, including cocktails, a barbecue dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing to the music of Scott Randolph & The White Lightning Band.

"We are excited to begin this fundraising event in the mid-Valley area," said Reagan Florence, Driscoll director of Development in the Rio Grande Valley. "Driscoll Children's Hospital has been helping children in South Texas for nearly 60 years. We hope the community comes out to support the Valley's youth who need the special
medical care that Driscoll provides."

On March 8, Whataburger presented Driscoll Children's Hospital with a check for $40,000 as the title sponsor of this year's GALA. Whataburger has been the title sponsor of the Valley event since its inception in 2004.

"Whataburger is proud to have partnered with Driscoll Children's Hospital for more than 20 years and watched its services expand into the Rio Grande Valley," said Whataburger Director of Operations David Cantu. "We feel honored to support Driscoll once again through this year's GALA and celebrate the wonderful work done here by the doctors, nurses and staff who provide specialty healthcare for children in South Texas."

Laura Cortez, executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics, said Driscoll is extremely grateful for Whataburger's sponsorship.

"Whataburger's support, along with the donations of others, will stay in the Valley and enable our children to receive the quality care they deserve right here."

  • What: Driscoll Children's GALA

  • When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20

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

  • Information/donations: Reagan Florence, (956) 688-1239 or reagan.florence@dchstx.org


Transplant Symposium is a valuable opportunity for healthcare professionals

March 06, 2012
This year, Driscoll Children's Hospital and the Coastal Bend Kidney Foundation are pleased to host the South Texas Transplant Symposium in beautiful Corpus Christi for the fourth time since 2006. The program promises to deliver high-quality educational activities for all healthcare professionals involved in the care of transplant recipients and donors in pediatric and adult settings. This includes physicians, nephrologists, residents, nurses, nurse practitioners and transplant coordinators throughout Texas and neighboring states.

The organizing committee is pleased to have world-class speakers participate and deliver presentations covering all aspects of transplantation such as living donor advocacy and perspective, donor exchange, critical care, adolescent transition and adherence, long-term complications, immunosuppressive protocols, antibody-mediated rejection, biotherapy and ethical issues in transplantation.

This year's program is designed to provide adequate contact hours to all audiences; therefore, there will be a nursing track, physician track and general sessions throughout the program to fulfill the specific educational needs of all disciplines. Seating is limited, so make sure you register early and benefit from an early registration discount. We hope to see you soon!

What: 2012 South Texas Transplant Symposium
When: May 11-12
Where: American Bank Center, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi
Information/registration: (361) 694-4117

Local healthcare professionals selected to serve on state Medicaid committees

February 28, 2012
Woerner
Woerner


Peterson
Peterson


Menendez
Menendez
CORPUS CHRISTI - Three local healthcare professionals have been selected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to serve on three new Medicaid advisory committees created by the 2011 Texas Legislature.

Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital, was selected to serve on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Council, which will advise the HHSC on standards for neonatal intensive care units and on the development of an accreditation process for a neonatal intensive care unit to receive Medicaid payments. The council was authorized by House Bill 2636.

Woerner serves on various community boards and is the chairman of the board of directors for Amistad Community Health Center, a faith-based community healthcare center providing affordable primary care and pediatric programs.

Mary Dale Peterson, MD, chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP), was chosen as chairwoman of the Quality-Based Payment Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the HHSC on performance, standards and outcomes measures for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The committee was authorized by Senate Bill 7.

Dr. Peterson is currently overseeing the expansion of DCHP into 10 South Texas counties, referred to as the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area.

Isabel Menendez, MD, of Portland, was selected to serve on the Physician Payment Quality Committee by the HHSC. The committee will use national guidelines to help determine the 10 most overused or unnecessary services in Texas Medicaid. State law directs the HHSC to decrease Medicaid payments for services that should not be provided. The committee was authorized by House Bill 1.

Dr. Menendez is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist who has practiced in San Patricio County since 1985 as well as medical facilities throughout the Coastal Bend and in Laredo.

Woerner elected to statewide hospital association board

January 03, 2012
Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital
Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital
CORPUS CHRISTI - Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital, has been elected to the Texas Hospital Association's (THA) Board of Trustees. He took office Jan. 1 for a three-year term.

Woerner is a former member of THA's Council on Policy Development, and he served a one-year unexpired term on the THA board in 2011.

With more than 30 years of healthcare experience, Woerner served as the CEO of Corpus Christi Medical Center before joining Driscoll. He also previously served as CEO of Denton Regional Medical Center and was responsible for the operations of six hospitals in North Texas owned by Epic Healthcare Group.

Woerner is involved in numerous charitable and civic activities in Corpus Christi and has served as a medical missionary for Clinica Corpus Christi in Guatemala.

He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Driscoll's annual Holiday Spectacular is a chance for rehabilitation patients to shine on stage

December 13, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - For many school children, performing in a holiday play is a rite of passage. Children receiving rehabilitation therapy at Driscoll Children's Hospital are given the same opportunity every year during the annual Holiday Spectacular, a tradition that began eight years ago to entertain hospitalized patients and their families. Performers in the show, to be staged Dec. 14, will be patients from Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department, their siblings and guest performers from the community.

This year's show will be directed by Driscoll's Christine Carter, a speech-language pathologist and dancer with the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, and Heidi Lathrop, a physical therapist at Driscoll and former dancer.

"Each year, it is amazing to see our special children give a performance to a standing-room only audience," Carter said. "It is a heartwarming performance that embodies the spirit of Christmas. Our children, who have physical, emotional, mental and linguistic disabilities, seem not to be aware of their own limitations, but are excited to work on their roles and to give a performance sure to spread joy for all who come to see."

In 2004, Driscoll's rehabilitation patients were invited to perform with the Corpus Christi Symphony's holiday show, then conducted by Lee Gwozdz. The children were given a standing ovation and since then, the show has been performed each year by the children of Driscoll's Rehab Department for the hospital's patients and families.

Carter said this year the children will be performing "The Magic Toyshop," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and excerpts from "The Nutcracker" featuring guest artists. The show will end with a special nativity scene. Additional performances by the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet will take place between the children's performances.

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Holiday Spectacular

  • When: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll collects more than four tons of food during food drive

December 05, 2011
Employees from many departments helped load a U-Haul truck for Driscoll's annual food drive.
Employees from many departments helped load a U-Haul truck for Driscoll's annual food drive.
This year, Driscoll Children's Hospital's employees came together in a big way to collect nearly 4.4 tons of food for donation to KIII-TV. On Dec. 1, numerous departments delivered packages of food and beverages they collected to a U-Haul truck outside the hospital. With the coordination of the Patient Relations Department and the Fun Bunch Committee, all items were weighed and recorded. Then, employees rolled up their sleeves and loaded the truck. The food was delivered to KIII the next day.

Patient Relations recorded which departments collected the most food according their size:

  • Small department: Driscoll Children's Urgent Care - Corpus Christi, 263.80 lbs.

  • Medium department: 6th Tower, 440.22 lbs.

  • Large department: Information Systems, 958.10 lbs.


To make the food collection a little fun, a contest was held for which department created the most original food containers. The winners were:

  • First place: Transport Team, for a mini-Driscoll ambulance.

  • Second place: Environmental Services, for elaborately decorated Smurf-themed boxes.

  • Third place: 4th Tower, for a snowman-decorated barrel.


"All of the participants showed their dedication to making Driscoll the very best it can be," said Evelyn Ferrer, director of Patient Relations. "Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to everyone for SHARING YOUR CHRISTMAS!"

Driscoll's Kidney Center marks 50th transplant

November 30, 2011
Program began on Feb. 14, 2007 with brother donating to brother

CORPUS CHRISTI - On Sept. 29, a 6-year-old boy from McAllen received a new kidney at Driscoll Children's Hospital, making him the 50th kidney transplant recipient since the hospital started performing the procedure in 2007. His was also the third living donor transplant.

Fifty successful transplants is a praiseworthy achievement by Driscoll Children's Kidney Center because for many years, South Texas children with kidney failure had no place to obtain healthcare services, said Chief of Staff Bill Allen, MD.

"These children originally had to drive to Galveston for dialysis and transplant services. Within the last 25 years services were developed in Houston and then San Antonio, but still there were no services in South Texas for children with kidney disease."

Over the past decade, Driscoll developed the first dialysis services and kidney transplant program in South Texas. With clinics staffed by board-certified pediatric nephrologists in

Laredo, Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Corpus Christi, Driscoll can now provide

South Texas children with the same quality services that would be available in Denver,

Los Angeles or anywhere in America, Dr. Allen said.

"There is a sense of accomplishment and real joy in being able to provide the very highest standard of care for all south Texas children with kidney disease," he said.

Here are some interesting facts about Driscoll's Kidney Transplant Program:

  • The first transplant on Feb. 14, 2007 was a brother donating a kidney to his brother.

  • The majority of transplant recipients live in the Rio Grande Valley.

  • Three mothers have donated kidneys to their sons; one donated to her daughter.

  • An aunt donated a kidney to her nephew.

  • Two fathers donated to their sons; one dad to his daughter.

  • Two sets of brothers have had kidney transplants.