DCH News

Community invited to get a haircut to benefit cancer patients

September 19, 2011
WHAT: In observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Driscoll Children's Hospital is holding its second annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Hair Cutting event. The community is invited to come and have their hair clipped by local stylists so it can be donated and made into wigs for cancer patients who've lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Food, music and commemorative t-shirts will be featured, and a bloodmobile from the Coastal Bend Blood Center will be on site.

WHEN: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19

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

New partnership to provide faster patient transports to Driscoll Children's Hospital

September 16, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. have begun a partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. Beginning this month, HALO-Flight will dedicate a helicopter exclusively to Driscoll Children's Hospital. This partnership will significantly reduce the time it takes to transport patients to the hospital.

"The purpose of this partnership is to transport newborns, infants and children with life threatening illnesses and injuries to the hospital as fast as possible," said Steve Woerner, president and CEO of Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Helicopters roughly cut transport time in half compared to ambulances, according to Driscoll records. For example, the average round trip by ambulance from Driscoll to a hospital in Brownsville is seven hours. The same round trip by helicopter is around three hours.

"By having a dedicated HALO-Flight helicopter, Driscoll will be able to better serve children throughout our 31-county service area," Woerner said. "This is monumental in our mission of providing hope and healing to the children of South Texas."

Excellent patient care is at the forefront of HALO-Flight's partnership with Driscoll, said Tom Klassen, HALO-Flight, Inc.'s executive director.

"Our goal is to continue to provide advanced critical care utilizing our premier helicopters and the highly skilled flight crews at Driscoll. HALO-Flight is dedicated to ensuring that the children of South Texas have the opportunity for a better chance at life by receiving air ambulance transports. We are two companies who have been, and will continue to be, serving South Texas residents' emergent needs."

Driscoll Children's Hospital is the only major hospital in South Texas to have this partnership with HALO-Flight, according to Patricia Carr, director of Driscoll's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Transport Department. The hospital's service area covers 31 counties and 33,000 square miles, with its level III NICU offering the highest level of care in the area.

Driscoll, HALO-Flight to announce new partnership

September 15, 2011
WHAT: Officials from Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. will hold a press conference to announce a new partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. A helicopter will be unveiled during the event.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16

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

Driscoll Children's Hospital gains pediatric cardiologist

September 15, 2011
Umang Gupta, MD
Umang Gupta, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Pediatric cardiologist Umang Gupta, MBBS, DCH, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital following a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Gupta received his medical degree in 1998 from Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan University in India. He did residencies in pediatrics at Chittaranjan Seva Sadan College of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Child Health in Calcutta, India and Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center in New York. Dr. Gupta completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Children's Hospital of New Jersey in Newark. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Flores joins Driscoll as pediatric endocrinologist

September 07, 2011
Mauricio Flores, MD
Mauricio Flores, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Mauricio Flores, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric endocrinologist. He was formerly an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. He received his medical degree from Universidad Evangelica of El Salvador in 1996. Dr. Flores performed a pediatric residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in Bronx, NY, and in 2008, he completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. He is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Pediatric hematologist/oncologist joins Driscoll

August 30, 2011
Jose Esquilin, MD
Jose Esquilin, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jose M. Esquilin, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. He recently completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at New York - Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Esquilin received his medical degree in 2005 from Columbia University in New York City and performed his residency at Yale - New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Driscoll residents win Texas Pediatric Society awards

August 30, 2011
From left to right: Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, Claudia Gaviria, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD.
From left to right: Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, Claudia Gaviria, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Two Driscoll residents recently won awards in the 2011 Texas Pediatric Society Fellow and Resident Poster Contest. Sheshashree Seshadri, MD, won first place in the Single or Multiple Case Presentations category for her poster titled, "Myositis and Paraparesis Associated with Murine Typhus." Claudia Gaviria, MD, received honorable mention for her poster in the Hypotheses Driven category titled, "MRSA Screening and Isolation Policy Does Not Decrease MRSA Nosocomial Infections in the NICU." Their posters were prepared with the direction of Jaime Fergie, MD, Driscoll's director of Infectious Diseases. Residents from 11 residency programs in Texas competed.

Driscoll's McAllen clinic gives away school supplies courtesy of H-E-B

August 30, 2011
Pictured, left to right, are: Margaret Kasofsky, Auxiliary member; Juan M. Davila; Juan Daniel Davila, a Driscoll patient; Kassandra Jasso, H-E-B public affairs; Sherry Cruz; Socorro Franz, Auxiliary member; and (sitting) Rory Steven Cruz, Driscoll patient.
Pictured, left to right, are: Margaret Kasofsky, Auxiliary member; Juan M. Davila; Juan Daniel Davila, a Driscoll patient; Kassandra Jasso, H-E-B public affairs; Sherry Cruz; Socorro Franz, Auxiliary member; and (sitting) Rory Steven Cruz, Driscoll patient.
McALLEN - The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen recently received a $1,000 donation from H-E-B to support their annual Back-To-School Supply Giveaway for their patients. Throughout August, Auxiliary members gave each patient a package of school supplies appropriate for their grade level. Driscoll's Auxiliary relies on contributions from the community to help make a positive impact in the lives of South Texas children. To learn more about helping, call the Auxiliary at (956) 688-1235 or (956) 289-3170.

Wig gives confidence to newly diagnosed cancer patient, 13

August 29, 2011
Event at Driscoll Children's Hospital will benefit cancer patients who've lost their hair

CORPUS CHRISTI - It all started about two months ago with an unusual lump on her neck. At first, Taylor Garcia was told it was a staph infection and was given antibiotics and steroids to treat it. After a month, the lump wasn't making any progress and another lump appeared.

"Her ear, nose and throat specialist decided to remove the lump and biopsy it," said Jennifer Garcia, Taylor's mom. "Originally, the pathologist said, 'Looks fine, just send it off for further testing and we'll see.' None of us expected it to come back as Hodgkin's."

On July 7, Taylor found out she had stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma, and her life changed suddenly. She was just six days shy of her 13th birthday. The next day she had an appointment with an oncologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Taylor, who takes her hair very seriously, often changed her dark brown locks, from cutting them short and choppy with red streaks to lightening them to a caramel color. Then she learned she would lose her hair from chemotherapy treatment.

"I didn't really care what was going on until the doctor told me I was going to lose my hair," she said. "I really like my hair. I get it done every month so I was pretty upset."

Upon hearing she would be losing her hair, Taylor went to a family friend and local hairdresser and requested blue streaks. Then, less than 10 days after her first chemotherapy treatment at Driscoll, she started losing her hair; a little in the shower and more and more as she brushed through it.

"It started a week after we dyed it, so I decided to cut it short. A couple days after that, I ended up shaving it all," she said.

During an appointment at Driscoll, Child Life Specialist Mara Ellis spoke with Taylor about getting a wig from an organization called Children with Hair Loss. Two days after she shaved her head, Taylor's wig came in.

"Hair loss is the most visible sign that a person is battling cancer," Ellis said. "Children and adolescents want to feel like they are the same as their peers. Wigs give them the confidence to not be judged when they go to the mall and gives them the courage to go back to school and hang out with friends."

Although Taylor lost her beloved hair, her new wig allows her to change up her look when she wants to. In fact, she got it cut to the style that her hair was before she lost it and bought blue clip-on streaks to add to it.

"I actually think the wig looks a lot better than my regular hair!," she said, laughing.

Last year, Driscoll Children's Hospital commemorated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by inviting the community to have their hair cut so it could be made into wigs for young cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. The event was such an overwhelming success that Driscoll is doing it again this year on Sept. 19. Hairstylists from several local salons will be on hand to cut hair and donate it to Children with Hair Loss.

"My hairstylist will be one of the people there," Taylor said, smiling. "I'm going to help her."

The public is invited to show their support and donate their hair at the event, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil. There will be commemorative t-shirts for sale, door prizes, food provided by Freebirds World Burrito and music. Additionally, a bloodmobile from Coastal Bend Blood Center will be on site accepting donations.

Hair must be at least eight inches from the ponytail and chemically treated hair will be accepted as long as it's healthy. Hair will be clipped and given a straight cut, but not styled.

"We want to celebrate our little warriors and let them know that we - not just Driscoll Children's Hospital, but the whole community - are standing behind them and supporting them," Ellis said.

  • What: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month hair cutting event and blood drive

  • When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19

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

  • Information: (361) 694-5311

Becker joins Driscoll as pediatric nephrologist

August 22, 2011
Amy Becker, MD
Amy Becker, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Amy Becker, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric nephrologist. Previously she served as the director of the Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship Program and was the assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She was also on the medical staff at Children's Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern University Hospital - St. Paul, all in Dallas.

Dr. Becker earned her medical degree in 2000 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She performed an internship and residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and continued with a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In 2010, Dr. Becker earned a master's degree in clinical science at the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School.

She is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric nephrology by the American Board of Pediatrics.