DCH News

Reunion brings once-fragile babies back to see their caregivers

October 14, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Oftentimes, infants who are brought to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend several months in the hospital, day in and day out, so it's no surprise that strong bonds are formed with the physicians, nurses and other members of the healthcare team who not only care for a child, but offer support to a child's family as well.

Because of the relationship that forms between patient and caregiver, Driscoll Children's Hospital holds the NICU Reunion each fall to give patients and families a chance to reconnect with their healthcare team and to celebrate the lives of those babies who have grown to be healthy children.

Trish Carr, assistant vice president of Patient Care Services says, "The reunion is a great way for our staff to keep in contact with the patients they care for. They are always so excited to see the progress the children have made. It's a great thing, being able to watch [our patients] grow up."

During the fall festival-themed celebration, staff who have cared for Driscoll patients over the years will be on hand to meet with the more than 200 families who are eager to share stories of what their children have been doing since their stay at Driscoll - some possibly many years ago. In addition to dressing up in their Halloween costumes, patients will enjoy games, prizes, pizza and other goodies at the annual 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 41-bed NICU has cared for more than 20,000 premature and critical infants in South Texas, offering the highest level of care in 31 counties.

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual NICU Reunion

  • When: 2 - 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services parking lot, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Chavez is new Radiology Services director at Driscoll

October 11, 2011
Ernest Chavez
Ernest Chavez
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ernest Chavez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as director of Radiology Services. He was formerly the director for medical imaging services, diagnostic imaging outpatient center, radiation oncology and transportation at Danville Regional Medical Center in Danville, Va. Chavez earned a degree in radiologic technology in 1975 at Odessa College and a master's degree in hospital administration in 1987 at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.

President of American Academy of Pediatrics to give insights into profession

October 06, 2011
WHAT: James Stockman, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will appear for a Grand Rounds session for pediatricians and healthcare providers in the community. He will give a presentation titled, "Best Articles of the Last Decade." Dr. Stockman will review recent articles and studies of interest to pediatricians, particularly articles that have changed the way they practice medicine. He will also discuss trends that will impact the pediatric workforce in this century and assess how education methodologies can be integrated into cost-effective care.

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7

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

Country stars will shine bright tonight at Singer Songwriter Showcase

October 06, 2011
WHAT: Some of country music's biggest singers and songwriters will take the stage tonight at Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Singer Songwriter Showcase at the Corpus Christi Country Club. That includes country music legend Allen Shamblin, winner of the 2011 Country Music Awards' Song of the Year for "The House that Built Me;" Gary Nicholson, a no. 1 hit songwriter whose songs have been recorded more than 500 times in various genres by artists such as BB King, Garth Brooks, Bonnie Raitt, George Strait, George Jones and Waylon Jennings; and Aaron Barker, who partnered with George Strait to create "Baby Blue" and "Easy Come, Easy Go," among other songs. Proceeds from the event benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital. The concert precedes Driscoll's 16th annual Golf Tournament, which will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at the Country Club.

WHEN: Doors open at 6 p.m.; concert begins at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Corpus Christi Country Club, 6300 Everhart Rd.

INFO: (361) 694-6401

Support group offers help for grieving children, their parents

October 04, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - When a loved one dies, adults and children both grieve. However, children grieve differently than adults, according to Nora Besinaiz, child life specialist at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Recognizing that there are few programs in the community to help children through the grieving process, Driscoll Children's Hospital has developed the Lean on Me program.

"Children need a special place where they can go," Besinaiz said. "They need to be around other children experiencing the loss of a loved one. This helps them learn that they're not the only ones grieving. They don't have to grieve alone and wonder about their feelings."

Lean on Me is a structured, six-week program for children ages 6 years and older that begins on Oct. 6. It includes bereavement curriculum specially designed for children, and each session builds on the previous one. With the guidance of Driscoll's chaplains and child life specialists, children will be encouraged during meetings to express their feelings by discussion or through art or writing.

Parents and caregivers are also included in the Lean on Me program because the death of a loved one affects the whole family, Besinaiz said. Adults will meet for bereavement sessions with Driscoll's social workers and chaplains while the children's group meets.

"Our goal is to give the family tools and ways to help them talk to each other and support each other when they're not with us in the one-hour sessions," Besinaiz said.

Besinaiz said the fall session of Lean on Me was planned before the holidays because for many families it may be the first holiday season without their loved one, and holidays typically are the toughest times for those who are grieving.

There is no charge to participate in the Lean on Me program. Driscoll only asks that families - children and their parents or caregivers - commit to attend the six-week program. Babysitting will not be available during the program.

  • What: Lean on Me program for children ages 6 years and older and their parents or caregivers

  • When: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 6 through Nov. 10

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

  • Information/registration: Nora Besinaiz, (361) 694-5763

Pulmonologist comes to Driscoll from New York

October 04, 2011
Jon Roberts, MD
Jon Roberts, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Pediatric pulmonologist Jon Roberts, MD, FCCP, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital after practicing in New York. He completed his pediatric residency and pulmonary fellowship training at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola in 2006. Dr. Roberts earned his medical degree from New York Medical College School of Medicine in Valhalla in 2000, and he is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

National Weather Service Employees to deliver gifts to cancer patient

September 27, 2011
WHAT: Employees at the National Weather Service's Corpus Christi and Brownsville offices will present gifts they collected to a Driscoll cancer patient whose story they read on Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org). Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, had to have his lower left leg amputated last March due to osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. He now receives care at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway

Wilson retires as chairman of Driscoll's governing board

September 26, 2011
C. Ivan Wilson has long been a champion of high-quality healthcare for the children of South Texas.
C. Ivan Wilson has long been a champion of high-quality healthcare for the children of South Texas.
CORPUS CHRISTI - It was announced today that C. Ivan Wilson is retiring from his position as chairman of Driscoll Children's Hospital's governing board. He had been the board chairman for 10 years and will remain a member of the board. Wilson became a trustee of the Robert Driscoll and Julia Driscoll and Robert Driscoll Jr. Foundation in 1982 and a member of the governing board in 1983. He has long been a champion of high-quality healthcare for the children of South Texas, and his dedication to Driscoll has inspired all who interacted with him. Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal will replace Wilson as chairman of Driscoll's governing board.

Perinatologist joins Driscoll Children's Hospital

September 26, 2011
Ryan Loftin, MD
Ryan Loftin, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Perinatologist Ryan Loftin, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital and Maternal Fetal Medicine of South Texas. Dr. Loftin comes to South Texas after completing a three-year fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his medical doctorate in 2003 at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. From 2003 to 2004 he trained as a Paul Ambrose Fellow at the New Hampshire - Dartmouth Family Practice and Leadership-Preventive Medicine residencies in Concord, NH. He then began a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, which he completed in 2008.

Car seat inspection event will be hosted by Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, community partners

September 23, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 3-14 years old. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that roughly three out of four child safety seats are not used correctly. Many parents are unaware that their child's car seat is not properly installed or realize their child is not fitted correctly into their car seat.

Through a partnership with the All Star Mitsubishi dealership, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program and community partners urge parents and caregivers to have their children's car seat checked on National Seat Check Day, Saturday, Sept. 24. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to inspect car seats and provide hands-on advice. They will also focus on reminding the community to "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car." Forty-nine children died from heat stroke while unattended in cars in 2010 - the worst year on record. Texas led all states with 13 deaths.

"We want to remind the community to make sure kids are buckled up in an appropriate child safety seat every time," said Maricruz Cantu, injury prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "We need to give kids the best opportunity of surviving a crash and avoiding serious injuries. We also want to make sure kids are not left alone in vehicles not even for a minute and to make it a habit to always check the back seat."

The current Texas law on child passenger safety requires all kids younger than 8 years old - unless they're taller than 4 feet 9 inches - be properly restrained in a child safety seat.

Updated recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type as they grow. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit their local inspection station to ensure their children's car seats are used properly:

  • Birth - 12 months
    For the best possible protection, any child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing parents to keep their child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
  • 1 - 3 years
    The child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
  • 4 - 7 years
    Keep the child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
  • 8 - 12 years
    Keep the child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seatbelt properly. For a seatbelt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

Parents and guardians should remember:
  • Select a car seat based on the child's age and size, choose a seat that fits in the vehicle and use it every time.
  • Always refer to the specific car seat manufacturer's instructions; read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
  • To maximize safety, keep the child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
  • Keep the child in the back seat at least through age 12.

  • What: Children's car seat checks
  • When: 10 - 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24
  • Where: All Star Mitsubishi, 2440 S. Padre Island Dr.