DCH News

Driscoll's annual Holiday Spectacular is a chance for rehabilitation patients to shine on stage

December 13, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - For many school children, performing in a holiday play is a rite of passage. Children receiving rehabilitation therapy at Driscoll Children's Hospital are given the same opportunity every year during the annual Holiday Spectacular, a tradition that began eight years ago to entertain hospitalized patients and their families. Performers in the show, to be staged Dec. 14, will be patients from Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department, their siblings and guest performers from the community.

This year's show will be directed by Driscoll's Christine Carter, a speech-language pathologist and dancer with the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, and Heidi Lathrop, a physical therapist at Driscoll and former dancer.

"Each year, it is amazing to see our special children give a performance to a standing-room only audience," Carter said. "It is a heartwarming performance that embodies the spirit of Christmas. Our children, who have physical, emotional, mental and linguistic disabilities, seem not to be aware of their own limitations, but are excited to work on their roles and to give a performance sure to spread joy for all who come to see."

In 2004, Driscoll's rehabilitation patients were invited to perform with the Corpus Christi Symphony's holiday show, then conducted by Lee Gwozdz. The children were given a standing ovation and since then, the show has been performed each year by the children of Driscoll's Rehab Department for the hospital's patients and families.

Carter said this year the children will be performing "The Magic Toyshop," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and excerpts from "The Nutcracker" featuring guest artists. The show will end with a special nativity scene. Additional performances by the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet will take place between the children's performances.

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Holiday Spectacular

  • When: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14

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

Driscoll collects more than four tons of food during food drive

December 05, 2011
Employees from many departments helped load a U-Haul truck for Driscoll's annual food drive.
Employees from many departments helped load a U-Haul truck for Driscoll's annual food drive.
This year, Driscoll Children's Hospital's employees came together in a big way to collect nearly 4.4 tons of food for donation to KIII-TV. On Dec. 1, numerous departments delivered packages of food and beverages they collected to a U-Haul truck outside the hospital. With the coordination of the Patient Relations Department and the Fun Bunch Committee, all items were weighed and recorded. Then, employees rolled up their sleeves and loaded the truck. The food was delivered to KIII the next day.

Patient Relations recorded which departments collected the most food according their size:

  • Small department: Driscoll Children's Urgent Care - Corpus Christi, 263.80 lbs.

  • Medium department: 6th Tower, 440.22 lbs.

  • Large department: Information Systems, 958.10 lbs.


To make the food collection a little fun, a contest was held for which department created the most original food containers. The winners were:

  • First place: Transport Team, for a mini-Driscoll ambulance.

  • Second place: Environmental Services, for elaborately decorated Smurf-themed boxes.

  • Third place: 4th Tower, for a snowman-decorated barrel.


"All of the participants showed their dedication to making Driscoll the very best it can be," said Evelyn Ferrer, director of Patient Relations. "Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to everyone for SHARING YOUR CHRISTMAS!"

Nearly 550 Coastal Bend residents receive pneumonia vaccine through Task Force's pilot project

November 30, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - In June, it was announced that the newly created Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force, led by Corpus Christi's three largest hospital systems, had assessed the major health needs of the Coastal Bend area through a study conducted by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The assessment led to the Task Force's first project, pneumonia vaccinations. Beginning in September, vaccinations began being offered to the community - including people without health insurance - at area H-E-B pharmacies and various health centers in Corpus Christi, Portland, Robstown, Freer, Beeville and Sinton. The Task Force recommended that residents of the Coastal Bend ages 50 and above and those with chronic health conditions get vaccinated. They also emphasized that children ages 5 years or younger who haven't been immunized against pneumonia be vaccinated, as well as newborns receiving booster shots at two, four and six months.

Nearly 550 residents of the Coastal Bend took advantage of the pneumonia vaccinations. In September, 195 people were vaccinated and 354 in October, for a total of 549.

"This was a successful pilot project for the Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force," said Eddie Read, Vice President of Finance at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "More than 500 people received a vaccination that could keep them out of the hospital. As word spreads about the work we're doing and more resources become available, the Task Force partners hope to keep offering these health initiatives to the community. Most importantly, we aim to keep them available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay."

The Task Force's complete report can be found at www.coastalbendhealthfinder.com. The website is designed to be a one-stop source of information about services available for the health and well-being of residents in 15 Coastal Bend counties.

The Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Assessment Task Force is made up of community leaders from CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Driscoll Children's Health Plan, Driscoll Children's Hospital, Corpus Christi Medical Center, the United Way of the Coastal Bend and the Nueces County Medical Society & Alliance.

Driscoll's Kidney Center marks 50th transplant

November 30, 2011
Program began on Feb. 14, 2007 with brother donating to brother

CORPUS CHRISTI - On Sept. 29, a 6-year-old boy from McAllen received a new kidney at Driscoll Children's Hospital, making him the 50th kidney transplant recipient since the hospital started performing the procedure in 2007. His was also the third living donor transplant.

Fifty successful transplants is a praiseworthy achievement by Driscoll Children's Kidney Center because for many years, South Texas children with kidney failure had no place to obtain healthcare services, said Chief of Staff Bill Allen, MD.

"These children originally had to drive to Galveston for dialysis and transplant services. Within the last 25 years services were developed in Houston and then San Antonio, but still there were no services in South Texas for children with kidney disease."

Over the past decade, Driscoll developed the first dialysis services and kidney transplant program in South Texas. With clinics staffed by board-certified pediatric nephrologists in

Laredo, Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Corpus Christi, Driscoll can now provide

South Texas children with the same quality services that would be available in Denver,

Los Angeles or anywhere in America, Dr. Allen said.

"There is a sense of accomplishment and real joy in being able to provide the very highest standard of care for all south Texas children with kidney disease," he said.

Here are some interesting facts about Driscoll's Kidney Transplant Program:

  • The first transplant on Feb. 14, 2007 was a brother donating a kidney to his brother.

  • The majority of transplant recipients live in the Rio Grande Valley.

  • Three mothers have donated kidneys to their sons; one donated to her daughter.

  • An aunt donated a kidney to her nephew.

  • Two fathers donated to their sons; one dad to his daughter.

  • Two sets of brothers have had kidney transplants.

Presentation to focus on need for donor breast-milk

November 29, 2011
WHAT: Mom's Place, a breastfeeding resource center and donor breast-milk collection site at Driscoll Children's Hospital, invites the community to a presentation on non-profit milk banks and the safe processing of donor human milk for medically fragile babies. The goal of the presentation is to bring awareness to the community about the use of donor milk for premature babies and sick children and to increase the number of women who donate their milk. Presenter will be Kim Updegrove, executive director of the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin. RSVP is required (see below).

WHEN: 9 - 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12

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

RSVP: Laurie Beck, (361) 694-5338

Carr promoted to assistant vice president at Driscoll

November 21, 2011
Patricia Carr
Patricia Carr
CORPUS CHRISTI - Patricia Carr has been promoted to assistant vice president of Patient Care Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Carr has been a nursing leader at Driscoll as the director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Transport Team. She has been at the hospital since 1993 and in a NICU leadership position for 16 years. Carr has been instrumental in developing a family-centered and developmental care approach within the organization. She is currently working toward a doctorate at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Driscoll gains child abuse pediatrician

November 18, 2011
Ada Booth, MD
Ada Booth, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ada Booth, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatrician specializing in child abuse. She most recently graduated from a child abuse pediatrics fellowship at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Previously she was a pediatrics resident at University Hospitals and Clinics in Columbia, Mo. Dr. Booth received her medical degree in 2006 from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. She is certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics.

New members of Driscoll's Clowns Who Care to be introduced

November 15, 2011
WHAT: For almost 15 years, the Clowns Who Care have been part of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital, clowning around and bringing smiles to patients, parents and staff. Tomorrow, the group will introduce seven new clowns to the community. The Clowns Who Care, including Corpus Christi City councilwomen Chris Adler and Nelda Martinez and more than 30 other women, visit Driscoll Children's Hospital twice a week. Their tireless and compassionate efforts for the children of South Texas are well-known; they have logged more than 14,000 volunteer hours between them.

New members are:

  • Kyle Cromwell, supporting partner of three oilfield businesses - Cry Baby

  • Kelly Koch Gilmore, attorney - Awesome Blossum

  • Debbi Kelley, stay-at-home mom & substitute teacher - Cha Cha Loca

  • Janice Roberts, banker - Oopsy Daisy

  • Cindy Segrest, small-jewelry business-owner - Cowgirl Pearl

  • Jennifer Susser, gemologist - Strawberry Shorty Cake

  • Stephanie Waterman, Farmers Insurance agent - Mz Glitzy


WHEN: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16

WHERE: KIII-TV, 5002 S. Padre Island Dr.

Butterfly Room to be dedicated at Driscoll Children's Hospital

November 14, 2011
WHAT: Driscoll Children's Hospital will hold a special dedication for the Butterfly Room, a newly renovated patient room for terminally ill patients and their families. Featuring adjoining rooms - one for the patient and the other for family to stay around the clock - the Butterfly Room is specially designed to offer a peaceful and therapeutic environment. The suite's set-up is conducive to a family's grieving process, allowing private time in the adjoining family room when needed without being too far from their child's hospital room. Renovations include soothing colors and artwork and curtains to strategically hide wall panels with medical equipment in the patient area, as well as a sleeper sofa, compact refrigerator and microwave in the family room. The Butterfly Room renovations were made possible by a donation of $35,000 from the 2010 Valero Texas Open golf tournament.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St., 4th Tower

Driscoll bilingual employees receive national designation

November 11, 2011
(Standing, from left) Evelyn Ferrer, course instructor and director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital; Maria Gonzalez, Sonia Chapa, Ellen Carruthers, Gricelda Cantu, Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll and Peniel Martinez, course instructor and Patient Relations representative; (sitting, from left) Dora Renteria, Rebecca Garza and Nora Garcia.
(Standing, from left) Evelyn Ferrer, course instructor and director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital; Maria Gonzalez, Sonia Chapa, Ellen Carruthers, Gricelda Cantu, Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll and Peniel Martinez, course instructor and Patient Relations representative; (sitting, from left) Dora Renteria, Rebecca Garza and Nora Garcia.
McALLEN - A handful of employees and volunteers at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen were recently designated Spanish Bilingual Assistants (SBA) by the National Medical Interpreter Project. The project, dedicated to supporting language access for non-English-speaking families, is designed to provide a bilingual individual with the basic tools for providing interpretation.

Evelyn Ferrer, director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital and one of the class instructors, began providing the course for hospital employees in 2008. This is the second class offered to Rio Grande Valley employees.

"Our commitment is to facilitate communication between patients and families with limited English proficiency and their healthcare providers in an accurate, complete, professional and confidential manner," Ferrer said.

Three employees and four members of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital were chosen for the 60-hour curriculum, which covered topics such as introduction to medical interpreting, culture and medicine, legal issues and ethics, basic anatomy and physiology, diseases and conditions and tests and procedures.

Specially trained interpreters are in high demand at Driscoll. Just last month, Driscoll's interpreters logged more than 500 interpretation encounters.

Newly designated SBAs are:

  • Gricelda Cantu, volunteer

  • Ellen Carruthers, volunteer

  • Sonia Chapa, volunteer

  • Nora Garcia, volunteer

  • Rebecca Garza, RN, Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen

  • Maria Gonzalez, LVN, Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen

  • Dora Renteria, Certified Medical Assistant, Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza -  McAllen