DCH News

Patients & Families

Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA

March 05, 2012
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA

WHAT: Whataburger officials will present a check for $40,000 to Driscoll Children's Hospital at a press conference and announce details about the upcoming Driscoll Children's Hospital GALA in the Rio Grande Valley. The GALA, formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, will benefit Driscoll's specialty clinics in the Valley.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Quick Care, 1120 E. Ridge Road, McAllen

10th annual Radiothon set for Friday at Driscoll

February 28, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Friday, March 2, K-99 (KRYS 99.1) will team up with Driscoll Children's Hospital and McDonald's for the annual Radiothon. The one-day event will be broadcast from the Half Pint Library in the main lobby of Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Tune in to hear patients, parents, physicians and staff share inspirational stories of hope and healing. In 2011, the community donated $63,484 during the Radiothon to benefit patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Anyone can help raise money for the Radiothon by creating an online giving page. To do so, go to www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/driscoll. For more information or to donate, contact Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6401.

What: 10th annual Radiothon
When: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, March 2
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll's McAllen clinic to host Heart Celebration

February 15, 2012
Event is to increase awareness of congenital heart defects
McALLEN - In a month that most people associate with Valentine's Day, Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen will be hosting a Heart Celebration Feb. 17 for its young cardiology patients. Following Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (see www.tchin.org/aware/), the celebration is an effort to bring awareness to the community about the many South Texas children born with heart defects. The Heart Celebration will include crafts, games and refreshments for the children and their families.

Each year, cardiologists at Driscoll and its South Texas clinics see about 7,200 children for heart-related issues. Last year, more than 3,000 children in the Rio Grande Valley were seen, said Judy Vest, RN, clinic director of Driscoll Children's Heart Center. Some of the patients need heart surgery and some are treated using delicate and less invasive procedures. Driscoll Children's Heart Center performs more than 200 cardiac catheterizations and over 220 heart surgeries each year.

If unrecognized, congenital heart defects can slow a baby's growth and development, according to Roozbeh Taeed, MD, medical director of cardiology for Driscoll Children's Heart Center. In severe cases, it can lead to injury of the heart muscle or lungs.

Congenital heart disease is due to the heart not forming properly as the fetus develops in the womb, Dr. Taeed said.

"It can be as simple as a hole in one of the walls separating the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of a valve or more severe abnormalities that would need treatment soon after birth."

Dr. Taeed explains that some congenital heart defects such as small holes in the heart chamber walls resolve with time, closing as the child grows. In many cases, narrowing of a heart valve can be treated by catheterization - passing a balloon from one of the blood vessels of the groin up to the heart, crossing the narrowed valve, opening the balloon and "popping" the valve more open, Dr. Taeed said. More complicated heart abnormalities require surgery and teams of doctors including anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists and surgeons like those at Driscoll Children's Heart Center.

Dr. Taeed advises parents to seek advice from their family physician or pediatrician if their baby is having difficulties with feedings or is not gaining weight.

"Based upon a careful examination, your healthcare provider can decide if your baby needs to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist," he said.

What: Heart Celebration for Driscoll cardiology patients and their families
When: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Driscoll Children's Health Plan opens new office in Edinburg

February 14, 2012
EDINBURG - In conjunction with its expansion into 10 South Texas counties, Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP) has opened a new office at 5409 S. McColl Rd. in Edinburg. The office will provide case management, social work, provider relations and community outreach to help the Medicaid-eligible population obtain the healthcare they need in the counties, referred to as the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA).

DCHP is one of four plans that were awarded a Medicaid managed care contract in South Texas by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. It's available to the approximately 400,000 Medicaid-eligible people in the Hidalgo SDA and is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the SDA.

"Driscoll Children's Health Plan is excited about being able to extend the mission of Clara Driscoll to South Texas," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DCHP. "This new office in Edinburg with its 21 employees will assist in serving our State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Medicaid members and providers in providing exceptional healthcare."

Counties in the Hidalgo SDA are:

Cameron
Duval
Hidalgo
Jim Hogg
Maverick
McMullen
Starr
Webb
Willacy
Zapata

DCHP has a dedicated team of pediatric and adult doctors, and the plan accepts members regardless of any pre-existing health conditions. For more information on DCHP, call (361) 904-0955 or 1-877-DCHP-KIDS or go to www.dchpkids.com.

Driscoll to focus on heart defect awareness this month

February 10, 2012
Mayoral proclamation will be read at city hall on Feb. 14

CORPUS CHRISTI - February is a month associated by many with the heart due to Valentine's Day. The week of Feb. 7-14 is also recognized in the US as Congenital Heart Defect 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 Joe Adame to proclaim Feb. 14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. The proclamation will be read in city council chambers around 11:45 a.m. Feb. 14. Driscoll has also invited patients and their families to a Heart Celebration on Feb. 14 and 18 that will include games, activities and refreshments.

"We want to recognize the thousands of people born with heart defects, remember loved ones who've lost their battle with congenital heart defects and honor the dedicated health professionals who work with them," said Laura Esparza, MS, LBW, social worker at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Each year, cardiologists at Driscoll and its South Texas clinics see about 7,200 children for heart-related issues, Esparza said. Some of the patients need heart surgery and some are treated using delicate and less invasive procedures. Driscoll Children's Heart Center performs more than 200 cardiac catheterizations and over 220 heart surgeries each year.

If unrecognized, congenital heart defects can slow a baby's growth and development, according to Roozbeh Taeed, MD, medical director of cardiology for Driscoll Children's Heart Center. In severe cases, it can lead to injury of the heart muscle or lungs.

Congenital heart disease is due to the heart not forming properly as the fetus develops in the womb, Dr. Taeed said.

"It can be as simple as a hole in one of the walls separating the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of a valve or more severe abnormalities that would need treatment soon after birth."

Dr. Taeed explains that some congenital heart defects such as small holes in the heart chamber walls resolve with time, closing as the child grows. In many cases, narrowing of a heart valve can be treated by catheterization - passing a balloon from one of the blood vessels of the groin up to the heart, crossing the narrowed valve, opening the balloon and "popping" the valve more open, Dr. Taeed said. More complicated heart abnormalities require surgery and teams of doctors including anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists and surgeons like those at Driscoll Children's Heart Center.

Dr. Taeed advises parents to seek advice from their family physician or pediatrician if their baby is having difficulties with feedings or is not gaining weight.

"Based upon a careful examination, your healthcare provider can decide if your baby needs to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist," he said.

What: Mayoral proclamation for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
When: 11:45 a.m. Feb. 14
Where: Corpus Christi City Council chambers, 1201 Leopard St.

Driscoll Children's Hospital's 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños nets record proceeds

February 08, 2012
Janie Hoskins (left) and Suzanne Almond were co-chairs for the 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños.
Janie Hoskins (left) and Suzanne Almond were co-chairs for the 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital's 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños on Feb. 3 surpassed organizers' expectations and netted $620,000, all of which will go toward the renovation and expansion of the hospital's Emergency Department. The fundraiser, held at the American Bank Center, featured live, silent and bid-board auctions, a barbecue dinner and entertainment by country music artist Tracy Lawrence.

"We were thrilled with the outpouring of community support during the evening," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "Every year we are absolutely astounded at the generosity and philanthropic spirit that we witness at this event - all for the health of our South Texas children. We are certainly thankful for our giving community here in the Coastal Bend and throughout the region."

Led by long-time title sponsor Flint Hills Resources, Fiesta netted $575,000 in 2011. Those funds also are earmarked for the Emergency Department project. The proposed expansion will include two trauma rooms, 20 private exam rooms, six private, fast-track rooms, two triage areas with ideal visibility to the waiting room, an expanded central nursing station and a new ambulance vestibule and weather protection canopy.

In 1987, Driscoll became the first hospital in South Texas to offer emergency services specifically for pediatrics, and the Emergency Department currently serves almost 40,000 children each year.

Employers, public invited to panel discussion promoting breastfeeding in the workplace

January 30, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital will host a panel discussion Feb. 10 to educate the public and business professionals about the federal law that supports lactating women once they return to the workforce. Panel members will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"More than 85 percent of women return to work and or school within the early postpartum weeks," said Laurie Beck, R.N., M.S.N., I.B.C.L.C., Lactation Program coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, the surgeon general of the United States, has challenged mothers, families, communities, healthcare professionals and employers to do their part to support and promote breastfeeding for all babies in the United States (www.surgeongeneral.gov). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aims to improve health outcomes for all Americans. Section 4207 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act and requires employers to provide lactating employees time and space to express breast milk or to breastfeed their child up until the child's first birthday. Ensuring that babies receive optimal nutrition has a positive impact on the health of the mother, the child, the family and the community.

The panel will provide perspectives on worksite lactation support, including:

Legal requirements under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act;

The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program and best practices in worksite lactation support;

Employer perspectives on worksite lactation support.

The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP or for more information, contact Laurie Beck at laurie.beck@dchstx.org or (361) 694-5338.

What: Perspectives and Best Practices in Worksite Lactation Support panel discussion
When: 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Feb. 10
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Information/RSVP: laurie.beck@dchstx.org or (361) 694-5338

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.

Nearly 550 Coastal Bend residents receive pneumonia vaccine through Task Force's pilot project

November 30, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - In June, it was announced that the newly created Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force, led by Corpus Christi's three largest hospital systems, had assessed the major health needs of the Coastal Bend area through a study conducted by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The assessment led to the Task Force's first project, pneumonia vaccinations. Beginning in September, vaccinations began being offered to the community - including people without health insurance - at area H-E-B pharmacies and various health centers in Corpus Christi, Portland, Robstown, Freer, Beeville and Sinton. The Task Force recommended that residents of the Coastal Bend ages 50 and above and those with chronic health conditions get vaccinated. They also emphasized that children ages 5 years or younger who haven't been immunized against pneumonia be vaccinated, as well as newborns receiving booster shots at two, four and six months.

Nearly 550 residents of the Coastal Bend took advantage of the pneumonia vaccinations. In September, 195 people were vaccinated and 354 in October, for a total of 549.

"This was a successful pilot project for the Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force," said Eddie Read, Vice President of Finance at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "More than 500 people received a vaccination that could keep them out of the hospital. As word spreads about the work we're doing and more resources become available, the Task Force partners hope to keep offering these health initiatives to the community. Most importantly, we aim to keep them available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay."

The Task Force's complete report can be found at www.coastalbendhealthfinder.com. The website is designed to be a one-stop source of information about services available for the health and well-being of residents in 15 Coastal Bend counties.

The Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Assessment Task Force is made up of community leaders from CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Driscoll Children's Health Plan, Driscoll Children's Hospital, Corpus Christi Medical Center, the United Way of the Coastal Bend and the Nueces County Medical Society & Alliance.

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.