DCH News

Rockport-Fulton's cancer survivor earns scholarship from the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital

June 16, 2014
Denali Huff, 18, 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.
Denali Huff, 18, 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.


As a volunteer at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Denali Huff did everything she could to help in the oncology department. Three years later, Huff relied on everyone in the oncology department to help her.

In December of her senior year, the Rockport-Fulton High School student experienced awful stomach pains. At home, lying in her bed wracked in pain, Huff pulled up her shirt and was shocked to see massive lumps protruding from her abdomen. Her mom immediately took her to Driscoll Children's Hospital where a sonogram revealed two ovarian cysts, including one that was more than 6 1/2 inches in diameter. When the cysts were removed, doctors found them to be cancerous. That meant two months of grueling chemotherapy.

Last week, a cancer-free Denali walked the stage at Rockport-Fulton's football stadium and received her diploma. Now, she's headed to college thanks in part to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award. Denali and Van Vleck High School graduate Andrew Laury, who attended Calallen Middle School, 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 had a reception to honor all the scholarship recipients in the Residents Conference Room at the hospital.

"This scholarship means a lot to me," Denali said. "I've always wanted to go to college, but it's really expensive. Most of the money my parents saved up for college was spent on medical bills for my hospital stays and cancer treatments. I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to afford college because of this, so when I found out I was being given this scholarship, I felt so honored and relieved at the same time."

Denali already has been accepted into multiple colleges, but she's still trying to decide which one will be best for her dance career. Denali started dancing when she was six years old and evolved into an award-winning dancer. She credits dancing into helping her get through those arduous chemotherapy treatments. She started treatments in January and set a goal to be able to compete in the Revelation Dance Competition in April in Kyle. Three weeks after receiving her final chemotherapy treatment, Denali not only competed, she danced well enough to win an award for her solo dance.

"Thinking about dance is what kept me looking forward the whole time," said Denali, who competed in a wig to mask one of the side effects of chemotherapy. "I had that goal that I was going to compete as soon as I was finished with my treatment. No matter how bad I felt or how rough the treatments got, I kept that goal in my head, and it helped me get going every day."

With cancer behind her, the 18-year-old is ready to head off to college this fall and see where her love of dance will take her.

"I can't wait to see what's next," Denali said. "As long as I'm dancing, I'll be happy, and I'll know that Driscoll helped me get to that point."

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
MORE NEWS

Radiology Department earns ACR Accreditation

November 05, 2014
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Driscoll Children's Hospital's Radiology Department has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes magnetic fields to produce anatomical images of internal body parts to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.

The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

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.