DCH News

Former Calallen student earns scholarship from the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital

June 16, 2014
Andrew Laury, 17, accepts the Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award from Driscoll Children's Hospital Auxiliary president Nancy Gunter (center) and assistant treasurer Marihelen Boyd on Thursday at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Andrew Laury, 17, accepts the Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award from Driscoll Children's Hospital Auxiliary president Nancy Gunter (center) and assistant treasurer Marihelen Boyd on Thursday at Driscoll Children's Hospital.




Entering Calallen High School, Andrew Laury envisioned himself spending his Friday nights under the bright lights of a football field like so many Texas students his age. Then, just weeks into his freshman year, Andrew began experiencing seizures, including 14 in a single day. A trip to Driscoll Children's Hospital revealed Andrew had a brain tumor.

After surgery and a year of chemotherapy and radiation, Andrew finally was on the football field last week, but this time he donned a graduation cap and gown instead of a helmet and shoulder pads. Now, he's headed to Wharton County Junior College thanks in part to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award. Andrew and Rockport-Fulton High School graduate Denali Huff each received the scholarship, which is named after a devoted Driscoll Children's Hospital volunteer and is given to students who are former or current Driscoll oncology patients.

The Driscoll Auxiliary also gives out the Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship, which is awarded to some of the hospital's student volunteers. On Thursday afternoon, Driscoll Auxilians held a reception to honor all the scholarship recipients in the Residents Conference Room at the hospital.

"It's going to pay for most of my college, so I can have a better future," said Andrew, who will celebrate his 18th birthday June 13. "I've been through some rough times, but now I can go to college, which will help me get a solid job with pay and benefits and will allow me to be a successful person and hopefully help kids like myself in the future."

When he was declared cancer-free before his junior year and moved to Van Vleck, Andrew held out hopes of playing high school football as a senior. He didn't end up being cleared for physical contact, but that didn't stop him from being a competitor in the classroom.

"He was an immense pleasure to teach in class," Van Vleck High School English teacher Jonathan Lunsford said. "His positive attitude is definitely infectious and increases his ability to work with and motivate his fellow classmates."

Andrew attributes that positive attitude to the support he received both in his community and at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Andrew lived in Corpus Christi and attended Calallen Middle School and Calallen High School before moving to Van Vleck after his sophomore year.

"The powerful strength in a small community in Calallen that rallied together to support me, and the support I received at Driscoll was unbelievable," Andrew said. "The hospital has an amazing staff that deals with illness daily, but still had a smile and strong words of encouragement to help me make it through my journey. I was never alone."

Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Recipients

Denali Huff, Rockport-Fulton High School

Andrew Laury, Van Vleck High School

Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship Recipients

Anushka Bhowal, Carroll

Paige Comstock, Ray

Victoria Gonzales, Tuloso-Midway

Brittany Kellogg, Tuloso-Midway

Hannah Perez, Carroll

Gabrielle Jade L. Redublo, Redublo Academy/Home School

Anissa M. Trevino, Carroll

Ruby Trevino, Collegiate HS
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Once-fragile preemies and their families reconnect with Driscoll staff at NICU Reunion

October 13, 2014
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Infants in Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) usually are there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend months in the hospital, so it's no surprise that strong bonds often form with NICU physicians, nurses and other caregivers. Because of those relationships, Driscoll Children's Hospital has 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.

"The NICU Reunion is a great opportunity for our patients, families and staff to keep in touch with each other," said Patricia Carr, Driscoll's assistant vice president of Patient Care Services. "It is a real joy to watch the growth and development of our children as they progress each year. Some of our patients who are now adults bring their own children to share in the event."

At the fall festival-themed celebration, Driscoll staff members who have cared for NICU patients over the years caught up with more than 150 families, who were eager to share stories of their children's progress since their stay at Driscoll. NICU "graduates" enjoyed 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 52-bed NICU cares for premature and critically ill infants from 31 South Texas counties.

Hospital's patients to have signing for Christmas book they created

October 13, 2014
Allison Shaffer is a burgeoning young writer, but she already knows the key to being a great author - create stories that come from personal experience. That's what the 17-year-old former Driscoll Children's Hospital patient did when she wrote "Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," a Christmas book written by Shaffer and illustrated by 10 different Driscoll patients.

Shaffer and the young illustrators will have a book signing at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 at Driscoll Children's Hospital. The book is on sale for $5 at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop and through Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org) with proceeds going to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Allison is a second-born twin, who weighed just two pounds at birth and spent the first 63 days of her life in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit. At four years old, Allison was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, which mainly affects her left leg. She had surgeries at ages 4 and 13 to help her walk more normally.

"After the surgeries, she had to learn to walk again, basically," said Wendy Shaffer, Allison's mother. "She's been a trooper through it all."

"Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," is a story with which Allison can relate. In the book, Allison writes of an abnormally small Christmas tree that none of the children want to play around. Eventually the tree adapts and uses its strengths to become just as popular as the other Christmas trees.

"I came up with the story when I was a kid," Allison said. "I really was kind of a loner in a way, so I drew back on personal experience as a child. I thought back to when I was a kindergartner and I went from there. Once I got into writing mode, it really just took me one night to write it. The story just came easily to me."

Like the story's Tiny, Allison has conquered the mental aspect of her disease.

"I'm very blessed to have mild cerebral palsy," said Allison, whose family moved away from Corpus Christi when she was four and is currently a junior at College Station's A&M Consolidated High School. "I have to work a little harder than other kids. I have to do stretches and things like that to keep my legs relaxed and flexible so I'm able to walk more normally, but it all has strengthened my pride and made me tougher. I don't look at this as being a curse at all. I wouldn't change anything. It's all been a blessing."

Allison is a confident young lady, who already is working on writing a novel. However, she admits to being nervous about being the center of attention at her first book signing.

"I'm very nervous, but very excited that I get to do that," Allison said. "It means a lot to be able to do something like this for Driscoll Children's Hospital, which has helped me so much since I was a baby.

TINY, THE SMALL CHRISTMAS TREE'S ILLUSTRATORS
Brooke Hester, 7, Corpus Christi
Jonah Vargas, 5, Corpus Christi
Claribel Garcia, 6, Corpus Christi
Maden Rivera, 3, Corpus Christi
Kendra Amy, 3, Corpus Christi
Vivian Wrinkle, 6, Corpus Christi
Joshua Miller, 4, Robstown
Gianna Veliz, 6, Odem
Enrique Garcia, 12, Corpus Christi
Sean Hoover, 12, Austin

Driscoll Health Plan educates expectant mothers through baby showers

August 22, 2014
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The Driscoll Health Plan hosts baby showers for more than 6,000 South Texas women each year, but these baby showers are more educational than your traditional family gathering. The Cadena de Madres Program - also known as Network of Mothers - provides monthly prenatal educational baby showers for expectant mothers in the Nueces and Hidalgo service areas.

The Coastal Bend March of Dimes Program Services Committee recently awarded Driscoll Health Plan a Community Awards program grant for $2,584.74 to purchase materials for the Cadena de Madres program's baby showers. The materials purchased with these funds will introduce and explain maternal child health topics such as infant brain development, staying healthy before and during pregnancy and what to expect after having a baby.

The baby showers are presented in three sessions and cover the following topics:
Learning how to make healthy choices during their pregnancy and recognizing the negative impact of smoking, alcohol and drugs on their health and their developing baby.
Understanding the advantages of prenatal care and understanding the complications that may occur during their pregnancy.
Learning to recognize signs of preterm labor, early labor signs and understand when medical intervention is needed.

"This is a wonderful community program that empowers pregnant women and their families to have healthier babies," Driscoll Health Plan CEO and President Mary Dale Peterson, MD said. "Since the inception, this program has reduced preterm birth rates by 34 percent. This is our goal - creating healthy communities."

The program was created to decrease the percentage of premature births. It aims to change behaviors through education provided during prenatal baby showers.

The program, which started in 2006, is for all pregnant women who reside in the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio, Starr, Victoria, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

Pair of Driscoll physicians makes prestigious Texas Monthly list

August 22, 2014
Driscoll Children's Hospital physicians Amy Becker, MD, and Jon Roberts, MD, FCCP, were featured in the July issue of Texas Monthly in its list of Texas Super Doctors: Rising Stars Edition 2014. The publishers of Texas Monthly and MSP Communications released the list of Texas Rising Stars, calling them "the physicians who are trusted and sought out by colleagues for medical care." The doctors were selected by their peers and verified by the Key Professional Media research staff.

Dr. Becker and Dr. Roberts both joined Driscoll Children's Hospital three years ago. Dr. Becker is a pediatric nephrologist and is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric nephrology by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Roberts, who also is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, is a pediatric pulmonologist.

MSP Communications asked more than 40,000 medical professionals in the state to nominate doctors they would choose when seeking medical care for themselves. The research team identified newer doctors who have been fully licensed for 10 years or less. Only 2.5 percent of all active Texas physicians are selected to the Texas Rising Stars list.

Craniofacial surgeon Vanessa Dimas joins hospital

August 22, 2014
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Vanessa Dimas, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a craniofacial surgeon. Dr. Dimas completed a fellowship at The Craniofacial Center in Dallas. She graduated from Texas State University and received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch where she also completed a residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Dimas is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Frank Moreida certified as Sports Medicine Specialist

August 22, 2014
Frank Moreida
Frank Moreida, a physical therapist in Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rehabilitation Services Department, was certified as a Sports Medicine Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) recently. Moreida also achieved the Orthopedic Specialty from the ABPTS in 2012. Moreida has been a physical therapist for 15 years, including four at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Moreida, a former high school teacher and coach, is using his expertise to help rehabilitate young athletes in the hospital's sports medicine program.

Dr. Gulbronson joins Driscoll as developmental and behavioral pediatrician

August 21, 2014
Maricela Gulbronson

Maricela Dominguez Gulbronson, MD, FAAP, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a developmental and behavioral pediatrician. Dr. Gulbronson comes from Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric of the Carolinas in Concord, N.C., where she was the medical director since 2010. She is board-certified in both General Pediatrics and Development Pediatrics. In 2004, Dr. Gulbronson was selected to Consumers' Research Council's America's Top Pediatricians, and in 2013 she earned U.S. News and World Report's Top Doctor honors. She attended Rice University and received her medical degree from the University of Texas Houston Medical School in 1995. Dr. Gulbronson, who grew up in Laredo, did her pediatric residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and completed a developmental-behavioral pediatric fellowship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Roxana Reyna de Driscoll fue honrada por el Condado de Nueces

July 10, 2014
 El 9 de Julio presente, acompañada por el Presidente y CEO del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll, Steve Woerner, y la Vicepresidente Asistente de Servicios de Cuidado de pacientes, Patricia Carr, Roxana Reyna aceptó una resolución del juez de Nueces County, Loyd Neal (centro). También se encontraban presente para la presentación los Comisionados del Condado (de izquierda): Mike Pusley, Oscar Ortiz, Joe McComb y Joe A. Gonzalez.
El 9 de Julio presente, acompañada por el Presidente y CEO del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll, Steve Woerner, y la Vicepresidente Asistente de Servicios de Cuidado de pacientes, Patricia Carr, Roxana Reyna aceptó una resolución del juez de Nueces County, Loyd Neal (centro). También se encontraban presente para la presentación los Comisionados del Condado (de izquierda): Mike Pusley, Oscar Ortiz, Joe McComb y Joe A. Gonzalez.
El Miércoles, la enfermera del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll, Roxana Reyna, recibió una resolución de la corte de Comisionados del Condado de Nueces como "celebración de su creatividad e ingenio".

Reyna, quien es un especialista en cuidado de piel y heridas, es parte del programa MakerNurse y debido a su uso creativo de cinta adhesiva, mantas, vendajes para adultos en usos pediátricos y otras innovaciones para los pacientes han impactado positivamente las vidas de niños y las vidas de sus padres. Esa creatividad también le valió un viaje a la Casa blanca el mes pasado para participar en la "Feria Maker" de la Casa Blanca. El Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll es uno de sólo cinco hospitales y el único hospital de niños elegido como un sitio de expedición de MakerNurse.

La proclamación del Tribunal de Comisionados del Condado, en parte, lee: "Se resuelve que la corte de Comisionados del Condado de Nueces por la presente reconoce Roxana Reyna, Maker del 2014 de acuerdo a la selección del Presidente de los Estados Unidos y exhorta a los ciudadanos del Condado de Nueces a unirse a la corte felicitando a Roxana Reyna por su dedicación y espíritu innovador que sin duda ha cambiado vidas y seguirá impactando a los niños y padres positivamente en todo el Sur de Texas."

Steve Woerner, Presidente y CEO del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll, y la Vicepresidente Asistente de Servicios de Cuidado de pacientes, Patricia Carr, también estuvieron presentes apoyando a Reyna al recibo de la resolución.

"Es un honor aceptar esto en nombre de todos los médicos, enfermeras y personal del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll, quienes continúan manteniendo la visión de Clara Driscoll ofreciendo esperanza y curación a los niños del Sur de Texas,", dijo Reyna.

Driscoll's Roxana Reyna honored by Nueces County

July 09, 2014
Roxana Reyna accepts a resolution from Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal (middle) on July 9 as Driscoll Children's Hospital President and CEO Steve Woerner and Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services Patricia Carr look on. Also on hand for the presentation were County Commissioners (from left): Mike Pusley, Oscar Ortiz, Joe McComb and Joe A. Gonzalez.
Roxana Reyna accepts a resolution from Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal (middle) on July 9 as Driscoll Children's Hospital President and CEO Steve Woerner and Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services Patricia Carr look on. Also on hand for the presentation were County Commissioners (from left): Mike Pusley, Oscar Ortiz, Joe McComb and Joe A. Gonzalez.
Driscoll Children's Hospital nurse Roxana Reyna was given a resolution from the Nueces County Commissioners Court on Wednesday as a "celebration of her creativity and resourcefulness."

Reyna, who is a skin and wound specialist, is part of the MakerNurse program because of her creative use of tape, blankets, adult wound dressings for pediatric uses and other innovations at the bedside that have positively impacted children's lives and the lives of their parents. That creativity also earned her a trip to the White House last month to participate in the White House's Maker Faire. Driscoll Children's Hospital is one of just five hospitals and the only children's hospital to be chosen as a MakerNurse Expedition site.

The County Commissioners Court proclamation, in part, read: "Be it resolved that the Nueces County Commissioners Court hereby recognizes Roxana Reyna, a 2014 Maker as selected by the President of the United States, and urges citizens of Nueces County to join the Court in congratulating Roxana Reyna for her commitment and innovative spirit that has in no doubt changed lives and will continue to positively impact the children and parents all over South Texas."

Driscoll Children's Hospital President and CEO Steve Woerner and assistant vice president of Patient Care Services Patricia Carr also were on hand to help Reyna receive the resolution.

"It's an honor to accept this on behalf of all the doctors, nurses and staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital, who continue to keep Clara Driscoll's vision alive in offering hope and healing to the children of South Texas," Reyna said.

Driscoll Children's Hospital nurse Roxana Reyna an invited guest at the White House

June 18, 2014
Driscoll Children's Hospital skin and wound care specialist Roxana Reyna appeared at the White House on Wednesday for the White House Maker Faire.
Driscoll Children's Hospital skin and wound care specialist Roxana Reyna appeared at the White House on Wednesday for the White House Maker Faire.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Driscoll Children's Hospital nurse Roxana Reyna is at the White House today for the White House Maker Faire. President Barack Obama and his staff invited innovators - what the White House calls "Makers" - from across the country for a visit to show off their creations.

Reyna, who is a skin and wound care specialist, is part of the MakerNurse program at Driscoll Children's Hospital, which is just one of five hospitals and the only children's hospital to be chosen as a MakerNurse Expedition site. The MakerNurse Initiative is an effort led by the Little Devices Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to honor the inventive spirit of nurses across America.

When leaders from the Little Devices Lab visited Driscoll Children's Hospital, they saw Reyna's creativity when she rolled up a blanket and held it together with tape to create positioning devices to better serve her patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She also found different ways to use wound dressings - usually made for adults - on pediatric patients.

"The inventions start at the bedside, because the need is always at the bedside first," Reyna said. "If you took a person that sits behind a desk and doesn't have that clinical experience of the bedside, then they may not be able to find the right way to apply their product. As nurses, we have that bedside experience, and we know exactly what we need, and we're able to create our own products that can have an impact on these kids' lives and the lives of their parents."

Reyna was chosen after the MakerNurse program submitted her name to the White House. She will show off some of her bedside creations along with Kelly Reilly, a nurse from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.



"We can find Makers everywhere in our community, and these are just some examples of that," said Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media. "Makers themselves can be as varied as their interests. They may be found in a number of different occupations from artists and designers, to engineers and computer scientists, educators, crafters and mechanics. What's true of all Makers is that what they do opens new doors and often leads to new relationships and unexpected opportunities."