DCH News

Healthcare Professionals

Flores joins Driscoll as pediatric endocrinologist

September 07, 2011
Mauricio Flores, MD
Mauricio Flores, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Mauricio Flores, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric endocrinologist. He was formerly an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. He received his medical degree from Universidad Evangelica of El Salvador in 1996. Dr. Flores performed a pediatric residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in Bronx, NY, and in 2008, he completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. He is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Pediatric hematologist/oncologist joins Driscoll

August 30, 2011
Jose Esquilin, MD
Jose Esquilin, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jose M. Esquilin, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. He recently completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at New York - Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Esquilin received his medical degree in 2005 from Columbia University in New York City and performed his residency at Yale - New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Driscoll residents win Texas Pediatric Society awards

August 30, 2011
From left to right: Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, Claudia Gaviria, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD.
From left to right: Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, Claudia Gaviria, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Two Driscoll residents recently won awards in the 2011 Texas Pediatric Society Fellow and Resident Poster Contest. Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, won first place in the Single or Multiple Case Presentations category for her poster titled, "Myositis and Paraparesis Associated with Murine Typhus." Claudia Gaviria, MD, received honorable mention for her poster in the Hypotheses Driven category titled, "MRSA Screening and Isolation Policy Does Not Decrease MRSA Nosocomial Infections in the NICU." Their posters were prepared with the direction of Jaime Fergie, MD, Driscoll's director of Infectious Diseases. Residents from 11 residency programs in Texas competed.

Wig gives confidence to newly diagnosed cancer patient, 13

August 29, 2011
Event at Driscoll Children's Hospital will benefit cancer patients who've lost their hair

CORPUS CHRISTI - It all started about two months ago with an unusual lump on her neck. At first, Taylor Garcia was told it was a staph infection and was given antibiotics and steroids to treat it. After a month, the lump wasn't making any progress and another lump appeared.

"Her ear, nose and throat specialist decided to remove the lump and biopsy it," said Jennifer Garcia, Taylor's mom. "Originally, the pathologist said, 'Looks fine, just send it off for further testing and we'll see.' None of us expected it to come back as Hodgkin's."

On July 7, Taylor found out she had stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma, and her life changed suddenly. She was just six days shy of her 13th birthday. The next day she had an appointment with an oncologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Taylor, who takes her hair very seriously, often changed her dark brown locks, from cutting them short and choppy with red streaks to lightening them to a caramel color. Then she learned she would lose her hair from chemotherapy treatment.

"I didn't really care what was going on until the doctor told me I was going to lose my hair," she said. "I really like my hair. I get it done every month so I was pretty upset."

Upon hearing she would be losing her hair, Taylor went to a family friend and local hairdresser and requested blue streaks. Then, less than 10 days after her first chemotherapy treatment at Driscoll, she started losing her hair; a little in the shower and more and more as she brushed through it.

"It started a week after we dyed it, so I decided to cut it short. A couple days after that, I ended up shaving it all," she said.

During an appointment at Driscoll, Child Life Specialist Mara Ellis spoke with Taylor about getting a wig from an organization called Children with Hair Loss. Two days after she shaved her head, Taylor's wig came in.

"Hair loss is the most visible sign that a person is battling cancer," Ellis said. "Children and adolescents want to feel like they are the same as their peers. Wigs give them the confidence to not be judged when they go to the mall and gives them the courage to go back to school and hang out with friends."

Although Taylor lost her beloved hair, her new wig allows her to change up her look when she wants to. In fact, she got it cut to the style that her hair was before she lost it and bought blue clip-on streaks to add to it.

"I actually think the wig looks a lot better than my regular hair!," she said, laughing.

Last year, Driscoll Children's Hospital commemorated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by inviting the community to have their hair cut so it could be made into wigs for young cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. The event was such an overwhelming success that Driscoll is doing it again this year on Sept. 19. Hairstylists from several local salons will be on hand to cut hair and donate it to Children with Hair Loss.

"My hairstylist will be one of the people there," Taylor said, smiling. "I'm going to help her."

The public is invited to show their support and donate their hair at the event, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil. There will be commemorative t-shirts for sale, door prizes, food provided by Freebirds World Burrito and music. Additionally, a bloodmobile from Coastal Bend Blood Center will be on site accepting donations.

Hair must be at least eight inches from the ponytail and chemically treated hair will be accepted as long as it's healthy. Hair will be clipped and given a straight cut, but not styled.

"We want to celebrate our little warriors and let them know that we - not just Driscoll Children's Hospital, but the whole community - are standing behind them and supporting them," Ellis said.

  • What: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month hair cutting event and blood drive

  • When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19

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

  • Information: (361) 694-5311

Becker joins Driscoll as pediatric nephrologist

August 22, 2011
Amy Becker, MD
Amy Becker, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Amy Becker, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric nephrologist. Previously she served as the director of the Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship Program and was the assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She was also on the medical staff at Children's Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern University Hospital - St. Paul, all in Dallas.

Dr. Becker earned her medical degree in 2000 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She performed an internship and residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and continued with a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In 2010, Dr. Becker earned a master's degree in clinical science at the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School.

She is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric nephrology by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Course at Driscoll Children's Hospital gives pediatric critical care providers an edge

August 03, 2011
For the second year, Driscoll Children's Hospital will offer the Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS) course for healthcare providers, including emergency medicine physicians, nurses, transport teams and others who care for unstable, critically ill or injured pediatric patients.

"This course is designed to complement the participants' knowledge and enhance their careers," said Karl Serrao, MD, course director and pediatric intensivist at Driscoll. "It will provide them with current, leading-edge critical care information that can help them save lives."

As one of only three children's hospitals in Texas offering the course, Driscoll hopes to attract healthcare professionals from all over the nation. The last course in April included participants from North Carolina and New Mexico.

"We anticipate an increase in participants from throughout the state and nationally," Dr. Serrao said.

The next PFCCS course is open to resident physicians only - locally and nationally - and will be held August 26-27. A course to be held October 7-8 is open to all healthcare professionals.

Continuing medical education credit is available through the course, as well as continuing nursing education. Driscoll Children's Hospital provides up to 16 contact hours for successful completion.

To learn more or to register for the PFCCS course, contact Chris Joyal, RN, BSN, CPN, at (361) 694-6142 or christopher.joyal@dchstx.org.

  • What: Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support course

  • When: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26-27 (residents only); 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7-8

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, , Health Center, Dr. McIver Furman Room II, 3533 S. Alameda St.

  • Cost: Driscoll employees: $60 for books; non-Driscoll physicians: $350 (includes books); other healthcare professionals: $275 (includes books)

  • Information: (361) 694-6142 or christopher.joyal@dchstx.org

Memory of late cousin prompts businessman to donate $150,000 nuclear camera to Driscoll clinic in McAllen

July 12, 2011
McALLEN - A Houston businessman has donated a gamma camera used for diagnosing cancer and other diseases to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen in memory of his late cousin, who was treated for leukemia at Driscoll Children's Hospital in 1977.

"I feel if you're not giving you're not living," said Richard Armijo, president of Advanced Nuclear Consultants LLC, a company that refurbishes gamma cameras and other equipment used to diagnose diseases. "I wanted to do something in memory of my cousin and Driscoll was the first hospital that came to my mind."

The gamma camera will enable pediatric radiologists at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen to perform nuclear medicine procedures such as renal, bone and lung scans. The procedures involve injecting a radioactive substance into the patient's body, capturing the energy it emanates with the camera and viewing the image on a computer screen. Radiologists then interpret the image and assist Driscoll's pediatric surgeons in treating the patient.

Armijo will be formally recognized for his donation during a ceremony at the Medical Plaza at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13. Driscoll officials will present him a plaque in appreciation.

Measuring about 12 by 12 feet, the gamma camera fills a room at the Medical Plaza. It is valued at over $150,000, Armijo said.

"It's a wonderful addition to the services Driscoll offers in the Rio Grande Valley," said Jan Kottke, clinic administrator at Driscoll. "We're very grateful for this generous donation."

Armijo said his late cousin, Astrid Claudia Hewitt, was 13 years old when she passed away from leukemia in Houston in 1984. He carried her memory throughout his life, as well as gratitude for the treatment she received at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Now, with a wife, three daughters, a son on the way and a growing business, it's time to help others like Driscoll helped his cousin, Armijo said.

"I've been blessed with my business and my family and I want to pass those blessings on to the children of South Texas."

  • What: Ceremony recognizing Richard Armijo

  • When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Cortez becomes executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics

July 05, 2011
Laura Cortez
Laura Cortez
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Laura Cortez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as executive director of the hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics. She will oversee operations at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

Cortez brings a wealth of healthcare management experience to Driscoll. She previously served for eight years as director of Women's Health Services for the South Texas Health System.

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.