DCH News

Healthcare Professionals

Driscoll's child abuse team receives $280,000 state grant

May 29, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI - This month, Nancy Harper, MD and Sonja Eddleman, RN, both with the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, received a $280,000 grant through the Texas Medical Child Abuse Resources and Education System (MEDCARES) Grant Program. The funds will be dedicated to the CARE Team's efforts to assess, diagnose and provide treatment for children suffering from abuse and neglect in Driscoll's service area of 31 South Texas counties.

"The grant has enabled the CARE Team to expand services and hire a second physician trained in child abuse pediatrics," said Dr. Harper, medical director of the CARE Team. "It has allowed us to take our mission further into the communities of South Texas where there are high rates of poverty and child maltreatment to ensure more accurate identification of neglect or abuse. The CARE Team also emphasizes through strengthened investigation the importance of recognizing when a child's injuries are not the result of maltreatment."

The MEDCARES Grant Program was established by the Texas legislature in 2008. Its purpose is to fund development and support regional programs that address child abuse and neglect. The grants are earmarked for hospitals or academic health centers with expertise in pediatric healthcare and a demonstrated commitment to developing basic programs in the field.

Eddleman, clinical coordinator for the CARE Team, is one of nine appointed members of the MEDCARES Advisory Committee. The role of the committee is to advise the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Health and Human Services Commission's executive commissioner in establishing rules and priorities for the use of MEDCARES grant funds.

Driscoll, Stripes announce early achievement of $1 million commitment to hospital

May 09, 2012
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will celebrate a $1 million goal being reached a year early when officials from the Stripes Convenience Stores chain announce the totals of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Balloon Campaign held April 2-29, 2012. Representing Stripes will be Sam L. Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corporation and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer for Stripes.

"It is a remarkable corporate commitment for Stripes to have raised over $1 million in four years, a full year ahead of their original five-year commitment," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts on our behalf.

"Stripes has made a dramatic difference in assisting Driscoll Children's Hospital to improve and expand the support services we offer for patients and their families. Any time you can make a child's hospital stay more pleasant, or even enjoyable, you have invested in that child's future. We are pleased to recognize and celebrate Stripes' significant fundraising accomplishments on behalf of the Stripes Child Life Program partnership."

Recognizing that being hospitalized can be stressful, the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is run by child development specialists who provide support for patients and their families to make their experience as positive as possible.

"Stripes' commitment goes beyond providing excellent service to its customers," Susser said. "Giving back to our communities is important to us because it supports our values and strengthens our communities. Stripes' 8,000 team members fundraise and volunteer for programs throughout the year designed to enhance the health and education of children residing in the communities where we serve. Our team knows firsthand that Driscoll saves children's lives and we are very proud to make a multi-year commitment to help support the hospital reach kids throughout South Texas."

Through the Stripes partnership, Driscoll has hired three additional child life specialists, created teen rooms for patients' entertainment during their hospital stay, conducted hundreds of positive activities from bingo to movie nights and formed special support groups to help patients and families who may be dealing with chronic illnesses cope with their challenges.

What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital campaign announcement
When: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor play area, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Goodman to oversee Driscoll's Transport & Outreach Services

May 02, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jeremy Goodman has been promoted to director of Transport and Outreach Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. He has been with the hospital since 2005 and most recently served as business operations manager for Transport Services and the neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, Goodman was instrumental in working with HALO-Flight, Inc. to secure a dedicated helicopter service for Driscoll that has resulted in a 45 percent increase in helicopter transports. He has been successful in bringing the national certification course for transport dispatchers to Driscoll and is currently working to establish a high-risk infant follow-up clinic at the hospital. Goodman holds a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on healthcare administration.

Driscoll residents use grant to help families at women's shelter

April 30, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI - This month, two second-year residents at Driscoll Children's Hospital used a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to vaccinate children, educate families about vaccination and research barriers to vaccination at the Women's Shelter of South Texas.

Shuya Wu, MD and Santiago Encalada, MD received a prestigious Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant for $3,000 from the AAP to implement the project.

"We noticed that children at the Women's Shelter oftentimes had not received required vaccinations, leaving them vulnerable to disease," Dr. Wu said.

Lori Anderson, MD, pediatrician at Amistad Community Health Center, served as the continuity clinic physician and mentor for the project, Dr. Wu said. Dr. Anderson also helped by providing supplies for the immunizations and obtaining vaccines from the state. Through their partnership with the Women's Shelter, doctors Wu and Encalada administered questionnaires to families to learn about the barriers they were experiencing in getting vaccinations for their children.

CATCH grants of up to $3,000 are awarded twice a year on a competitive basis to pediatric residents to address the needs of children in their communities. Applicants for the grants must include planning activities for their projects and in some cases implementation activities, according to the AAP.

Advisory Council recognizes Driscoll trauma coordinator

April 26, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Janet Pointer, critical care trauma coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council (CBRAC) for Trauma Service Area U. Pointer, who has served as the education chairperson for CBRAC-U, was recognized for bringing many educational opportunities to the region's medical personnel including those in emergency medical services, nursing, respiratory therapy and other specialties. CBRAC-U's mission is to facilitate coordination of trauma service providers to ensure the most efficient, consistent and expeditious care of anyone who may experience an acute injury by developing and maintaining integrated quality processes in patient care, research, education and injury prevention. Trauma Service Area U represents more than 560,000 people in the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Jim Wells, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio.

Driscoll patient, his mother consider transplant team family

April 23, 2012
Ryan Sepulveda, 17, has had two kidney transplants, the most recent in June 2011 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Ryan Sepulveda, 17, has had two kidney transplants, the most recent in June 2011 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Sepulvedas look forward to hospital's annual Transplant Reunion April 28

CORPUS CHRISTI - A gleam comes to Ryan Sepulveda's eyes and a smile to his face when he recalls a three-legged race he ran with Driscoll Children's Hospital physician Samhar Al-Akash, MD at the hospital's Transplant Reunion a couple of years ago.

"I fell down and he had to carry me," Ryan, 17, said as he began laughing. "It was fun. I want to do it again this year."

Ryan is referring to Driscoll's Transplant Reunion that will be held April 28 at West Guth Park - his third to attend. The annual event, a celebration for Driscoll's 55 kidney transplant patients and their families, will include moon bounces, games of all sorts, prizes and food. Most importantly, it will be a chance for the patients and families to visit, share their experiences and have fun. Between 150-175 people are expected to attend.

"This is our way of saying 'thank you' to the families for their trust and for sharing their kids with us not only in sickness but also in health," said Dr. Al-Akash, head of nephrology and medical director of Driscoll's Kidney Center.

Ryan's kidney transplant at Driscoll in June 2011 was his second. He had been sick for a year, said his mother, Amy Sepulveda, because the kidney he received 12 years ago at a hospital in Galveston was failing.

"His body was rejecting the first kidney. We were lucky it lasted 12 years."

Sepulveda said she was relieved when Driscoll began performing kidney transplants in 2007, not least because her family no longer had to travel to Galveston for Ryan's treatment. Her appreciation for Driscoll's transplant team is deep and emotional.

"The whole team is awesome, from the girls at the front desk to the social workers and the doctors," Sepulveda said, her eyes welling up. "They make you feel like family. Dr. Al-Akash cared about Ryan like he was his own child. Oh my God, I can't say anything better...we couldn't do without this hospital."

Ryan, a high school sophomore, said he feels fine these days. He hopes to become a catcher in major league baseball. Asked if he's been scared during the surgeries he's endured, including gall bladder removal by Driscoll pediatric surgeon Stephen Almond, MD, he put on a carefree face.

"I wasn't scared because of the way (the doctors) talked to me. They told me everything was going to be OK. I believed them."

Dr. Al-Akash is looking forward to the April 28 Transplant Reunion and, as he said, "... blending together as humans, friends and families, not patients and doctors. The reunion celebrates these kids and their families and reminds us what is important in life."

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Transplant Reunion
When: Noon Saturday, April 28
Where: West Guth Park, 9725 Up River Rd.

Fergie promoted to professor at A&M College of Medicine

April 16, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jaime Fergie, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children's Hospital, has been promoted to professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in College Station.
His promotion is based on the quality and importance of his contribution to research, education and clinical care missions. Dr. Fergie, who has practiced at Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994, is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lance is new director for Driscoll Children's Health Plan

April 11, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Michael Lance has joined Driscoll Children's Health Plan as the senior director of operations. He comes from Annapolis, Md. and has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare, including 23 years as an executive in health plan management with Medicaid, Medicare, Commercial and TRICARE. Lance, a certified public accountant, earned his degree at Arizona State University in Tempe and has worked in hospital systems and multi-specialty practice groups.

Driscoll to host breastfeeding seminar April 12

March 30, 2012

  • WHAT: The public is invited to an educational seminar at Driscoll Children's Hospital about the basics of breastfeeding, led by Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, international board certified lactation consultant for Driscoll Children's Hospital. Topics will include:

    • Benefits of human breast milk;

    • Basic anatomy and physiology of breastfeeding;

    • What parents can expect the first few weeks after the delivery of the baby;

    • Community resources to help breastfeeding families;

    • Returning to work/school and breastfeeding.

  • WHEN: 6 - 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12

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

  • COST: $20 per family; all proceeds will benefit the March of Dimes.

  • INFO: Laurie Beck, (361) 694-5338

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.