Patients & Families
Once-fragile preemies, their families will reunite with caregivers
October 19, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Infants who are brought to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are usually there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend several months in the hospital, day in and day out, so it's no surprise that strong bonds often form between them and the NICU physicians, nurses and other caregivers.
Because of the relationships that develop between patients and caregivers, Driscoll Children's Hospital holds the NICU Reunion each fall to give everyone a chance to reconnect and celebrate the lives of the babies who have grown into children and adults.
"It's exciting for our staff to keep in contact with the patients they cared for," said Patricia Carr, Driscoll assistant vice president of Patient Care Services. "It's a wonderful thing watching our patients grow into children and adults. The event is truly like a big family reunion."
At the fall festival-themed celebration, Driscoll staff members who have cared for NICU patients over the years will be on hand to meet with the more than 150 families who are eager to share stories of their children's progress since their stay at Driscoll - some of whom are now adults. In addition to dressing up in their Halloween costumes, NICU "graduates" will enjoy food, games, prizes and other goodies at the event.
Driscoll Children's Hospital's level III NICU cares for newborns and infants for a variety of reasons, including prematurity (carried less than 37 weeks), respiratory distress, infections, birth defects and other illnesses. Staffed by neonatologists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the 47-bed NICU cares for premature and critically ill infants from 31 South Texas counties.
What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual NICU Reunion
When: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services parking lot, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Patients will be treated to Halloween celebration at Driscoll
October 15, 2012
WHAT: Volunteers with Spirit Halloween's Spirit of Children program are bringing a Halloween celebration to patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital, including costumes, activities and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos and interviews.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Health Plan in focus: An incentive program for new moms
October 12, 2012
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Motherhood is a big job, and helping mothers and their babies stay healthy in South Texas is a big focus of Driscoll Health Plan (DHP). For example, DHP encourages moms to stay on track with Texas Health Steps - a roadmap to healthy living for mothers and newborns - by offering incentives such as gift cards for diapers* when they complete each of their postpartum checkups and at least four of the newborn checkups.
Under the Texas Health Steps incentive program, mothers are encouraged to visit their obstetrician after giving birth to ensure their recovery from delivery is proceeding well. These visits allow them to get additional information on breastfeeding and birth spacing.
"Similarly, we hope that the infant will get all the recommended checkups from his or her pediatrician or family physician," said Ernest Buck, MD, medical director of DHP.
Infants' checkups are typically scheduled at 5 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months old, Dr. Buck said. The visits are spaced to ensure the babies' growth and development is proceeding normally. They'll get the recommended vaccines, and parents will have the chance to learn parenting skills.
As mothers complete each infant checkup, they can receive a gift card for diapers. In addition, DHP offers a $20 gift card to moms* who continue to get all checkups after the baby's first year, which are scheduled at 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and annually from age 3 to 20 years.
"We want to encourage the family to get the very best in medical care and reward them for doing just that," Dr. Buck said.
DHP has more than 51,600 members in the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata. It is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored plan in the Hidalgo SDA. For more information about DHP, families can go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247. This is the second in a series of four press releases about DHP's value-added services.
* This is not an all-inclusive list of value-added services. Restrictions and/or limitations apply.
Costco donates more than $12,000 to Driscoll Children's Hospital
September 27, 2012
WHAT: Officials from Costco will present a check for $12,094.27 to Driscoll Children's Hospital. Costco employees raised the funds for the Children's Miracle Network through sales of miracle balloons and other fundraising activities. Driscoll Children's Hospital is part of the Children's Miracle Network, a children's charity that raises funds for more than 170 pediatric hospitals. Proceeds will help create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves lives.
WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28
WHERE: Costco, 1501 W. Kelly Ave., Pharr
Huynh brings sports medicine expertise to Driscoll
September 26, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Phuong Huynh, MD, has joined Children's Physician Services of South Texas at Driscoll Children's Hospital as a sports medicine physician. Dr. Huynh recently completed a primary care sports medicine fellowship at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She has had extensive training in the assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries.
Dr. Huynh will diagnose and treat musculoskeletal sports injuries and offer advice on injury prevention to athletes, coaches, trainers and sports teams. She will work closely with Driscoll's physical therapists and athletic trainer to develop rehabilitation plans and exercise regimes that are specific to each patient and their injury.
Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program to host car seat inspections
September 21, 2012
Certified technicians will help parents and caregivers ensure proper installation
CORPUS CHRISTI - Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2010 shows that about two children 12 or younger were killed and 325 were injured each day in passenger vehicles. The NHTSA also estimates that roughly three out of four child safety seats are not used correctly.
Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program will conduct a car seat inspection event on Friday, Sept. 21 at Kohl's Department Store. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be on hand from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to check car seats for proper installation and advise parents and caregivers on how to choose the right car seats and install them properly in their vehicles. The event is part of Driscoll's participation in Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 16-22. The current Texas law on child passenger safety requires all kids younger than 8 years old unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches be properly restrained in a child safety seat.
"It is important that we give children the best opportunity of surviving a crash and avoiding serious injuries," said Maricruz Cantu, Injury Prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "The best way to protect your kids is to put them in the right car seats for their age and size and use those seats correctly on every trip, every time. By attending the car seat event on Sept. 21, parents and caregivers can be sure their kids are riding as safely as possible."
Cantu urges parents and caregivers to follow NHTSA's car seat guidelines and manufacturer instructions, which recommend that children stay in specific restraint types before moving to the next type. For maximum safety, car seat installations should be inspected by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Children ages 12 and under should always ride in the back seat, Cantu said.
Important guidelines for child seat safety are:
Birth-12 months old:
For the best possible protection, children 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 children to remain rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1-3 years old:
Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the 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 old:
Children should be kept in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the forward-facing seat, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8-12 years old:
Keep children in a booster seat until they're big enough to wear 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 snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
Parents and caregivers 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 on every trip, every time.
Always refer to the 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. Check height and weight limits.
To maximize safety, keep children in the car seat for as long as possible, providing they fit within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
Keep children in the back seat at least through age 12.
What: Child safety seat inspections
When: 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21
Where: Kohl's Department Store, 5626 Saratoga Blvd.
Patients to get red carpet treatment at Celebrity Celebration
September 17, 2012
Annual holiday cards, Christmas storybook they designed go on sale Sept. 19
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll's annual Hollywood-style Celebrity Celebration will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19 to mark the release of the hospital's 2012 holiday card collection and Christmas storybook. Celebrities at the event will be past and present Driscoll patients who created designs for the items.
"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 nine holiday cards and a Christmas storybook. Community members selected the artwork to be used. Proceeds from sales of the items 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:
Lucas Berio, 7, of Corpus Christi
Natalia Berio, 13, of Corpus Christi
Samarah Aguilar, 7, of Corpus Christi
Andrew Parada, 5, of Corpus Christi
Uniece Nilo, 13, of Mercedes
Sean Gonzales, 10, of Corpus Christi
Alexis Falcon, 13, of Victoria
Daisy Tijerina, 5, of Corpus Christi
Jacqueline Gonzalez, 8, of Laredo
Storybook artists are:
Leland Gutierrez, 2, of Corpus Christi
Ava Johnson, 8, of Corpus Christi
Sabrina Cruz, 8, of Corpus Christi
Scarlett Hitt, 5, of Corpus Christi
Gregory Rogers, 5, of Corpus Christi
Lucas Berio, 7, of Corpus Christi
Christina Ruiz, 6, of Harlingen
Isamel Vela, 5, of Corpus Christi
Brayden Gibson, 4, of Corpus Christi
Elle Burnfield, 5, of Ingleside
The children's artwork will be unveiled after they enter Driscoll's auditorium on a red carpet amid camera flashes and applause. Then they'll autograph their work for family, friends and fans. Following the celebration, they'll be treated to a limo ride to Gattitown for some food and fun.
The holiday cards and Christmas storybook 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's annual Celebrity Celebration
When: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Health Plan going strong with value-added services
September 11, 2012
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Since its expansion last year, Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) has become firmly rooted in the 10-county Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), with 51,628 Medicaid members enrolled to date. DHP opened a new office in Edinburg in January and is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored plan in the Hidalgo SDA, which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.
DHP goes beyond Medicaid benefits, offering members a long list of value-added services that promote healthy lifestyles and improved health. For example, pregnant women can receive dental care, new moms can receive gift cards for baby diapers and children can earn prizes for eating healthy and staying active.
Here is a snapshot of the value-added services that DHP offers. An asterisk indicates new services:
Transportation services - For eligible members, DHP will assist with transportation issues that may arise outside of the standard medical transportation program.
Preventive care dental benefits* - Pregnant members at least 21 years old may receive routine dental exams, dental x-rays, two teeth cleanings per year and additional gum treatment benefits.
Vision services - Children and adults can receive a $100 corrective eyewear allowance every 24 months.
Sports/school physicals - Free sports/school physicals are offered to all members ages 5-19.
Free cell phone minutes - DHP will provide application assistance for members to receive a free cell phone through the Lifeline Assistance Program and 250 additional minutes for pregnant members or members with special healthcare needs.
Cadena de Madres - This program includes prenatal education, lactation consulting, nutritional counseling and free prenatal educational baby showers for pregnant women enrolled in State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) and/or residing in the following counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy.
Birthing classes* - DHP will sponsor local hospital programs to provide birthing classes for DHP members.
Asthma services - DHP will provide a home evaluation for members with asthma. Asthma educators will interview the parent/member to identify triggers and assist families with care management services. Members participating in the evaluation will also receive a free pillow cover and bed cover.
Asthma camp sponsorships* - DHP will provide summer camp sponsorships for certain children ages 7-14 with asthma that are designed to provide physical and social experiences that are fun while increasing the child's understanding of his or her asthma.
Membership at Boys & Girls Clubs - DHP members can obtain a family membership by presenting their member ID card at any participating location throughout South Texas.
Going NonStopô Program* - Members track their daily habits such as physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, TV watching, computer use and fast food consumption.
Incentive programs for Texas Health Steps* - Members who complete a post-partum checkup and four newborn Texas Health Steps checkups on time will receive up to six gift certificates for disposable diapers and other rewards.
Emergency Preparedness Kit Gift Program* - DHP will provide one emergency preparedness kit per family upon enrollment.
"These value-added services demonstrate that DHP cares about our members," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DHP. "We want them to stay well and have some fun."
For more information about DHP, families in the Hidalgo SDA can go to www.dchpkids.com or call 855-425-3247. This is the first in a series of four press releases about DHP. Subsequent press releases will focus on specific value-added services under the plan.
Super evening planned for Driscoll's heroic cancer patients
September 06, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Children whose lives have been touched by cancer are in for an evening of fun and wonder Sept. 8 when Driscoll Children's Hospital hosts a celebration for them at the Texas State Aquarium. In conjunction with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Driscoll has reserved the venue for patients who are being treated or have completed treatment at the hospital's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center and their families.
Approximately 400,000 children receive treatment for cancer every day in the United States, according to Tara Adams, clinical coordinator at Driscoll's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. Those who are treated at Driscoll Children's Hospital often inspire the people around them.
"We can all learn something from children facing cancer treatment," said Cris Johnson, MD, medical director of the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. "It is an honor to care for these brave children and watch them thrive and grow with the medical care needed to cure their disease."
In recognition of their bravery, Driscoll staff will give each child a superhero cape when they arrive at the aquarium. Also on the agenda is the reading of a mayoral proclamation by Corpus Christi Mayor Pro Tem Chris Adler declaring Sept. 8 Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. The children will then be treated to a dolphin show and birds-in-flight show, followed by dinner.
As in years past, Driscoll has created t-shirts in observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The yellow shirts feature the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center logo, children holding hands in a circle and the words "Celebrating our Heroes." They are available to the public through Sept. 16 in Driscoll's Carousel Gift Shop. Sales will benefit the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center and support the events, educational materials and care offered to cancer patients.
What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month event
When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Texas State Aquarium, 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Darts, foosball, Xbox: Driscoll's Teen Lounge has it all and more
August 24, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - An oasis of entertainment designed specifically for adolescent patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital will be formally unveiled Tuesday. Driscoll officials will be joined by Sam Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corp., and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer of Stripes convenience stores, whose $1 million donation in 2009 made the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital Teen Lounge possible.
"The Teen Lounge will provide a therapeutic space for adolescents while they're in the hospital," said Michelle Goodman, fourth floor and Stripes Child Life Program director. "Patients who are 11 and older will find it comfortable and full of activities that are appropriate for their age group."
Located on the fourth floor of the hospital with a view of Corpus Christi Bay, the Teen Lounge features a 42-inch, flat screen TV, a media cabinet, movies on DVD and Wii and Xbox 360 video games. Patients can surf the Internet on a laptop computer or iPad. There's a foosball table, air hockey table, dart board, magazines, board games, arts and crafts, books and comfortable sofas.
This is Driscoll's second Teen Lounge. The first, opened on the sixth floor in December 2010, proved to be popular among older patients, Goodman said. A third Teen Lounge will be built on the seventh floor in the future, she added.
What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital Teen Lounge unveiling
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.