DCH News

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.

Edinburg Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to visitors, ranchers alike

August 11, 2011
EDINBURG - On Saturday, August 13, young 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and the Hidalgo County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 10 a.m. at the Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors and ranchers alike. Members of 4-H and the FFA will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H and FFA students and their efforts, visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at 956-223-0687 or call the Hidalgo County Extension Office at 956-383-1026.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13

  • Where: Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.

  • Information: 956-223-0687 or 956-383-1026

Treasure boxes to be donated for Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley patients

August 09, 2011
WHAT: As a philanthropic project, the Texas state organization of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a sorority of women educators, will deliver over 100 treasure boxes filled with toys to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen. The treasure boxes will be given to patients at all of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics to brighten their spirits during their checkups and treatment.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Course at Driscoll Children's Hospital gives pediatric critical care providers an edge

August 03, 2011
For the second year, Driscoll Children's Hospital will offer the Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS) course for healthcare providers, including emergency medicine physicians, nurses, transport teams and others who care for unstable, critically ill or injured pediatric patients.

"This course is designed to complement the participants' knowledge and enhance their careers," said Karl Serrao, MD, course director and pediatric intensivist at Driscoll. "It will provide them with current, leading-edge critical care information that can help them save lives."

As one of only three children's hospitals in Texas offering the course, Driscoll hopes to attract healthcare professionals from all over the nation. The last course in April included participants from North Carolina and New Mexico.

"We anticipate an increase in participants from throughout the state and nationally," Dr. Serrao said.

The next PFCCS course is open to resident physicians only - locally and nationally - and will be held August 26-27. A course to be held October 7-8 is open to all healthcare professionals.

Continuing medical education credit is available through the course, as well as continuing nursing education. Driscoll Children's Hospital provides up to 16 contact hours for successful completion.

To learn more or to register for the PFCCS course, contact Chris Joyal, RN, BSN, CPN, at (361) 694-6142 or christopher.joyal@dchstx.org.

  • What: Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support course

  • When: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26-27 (residents only); 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7-8

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, , Health Center, Dr. McIver Furman Room II, 3533 S. Alameda St.

  • Cost: Driscoll employees: $60 for books; non-Driscoll physicians: $350 (includes books); other healthcare professionals: $275 (includes books)

  • Information: (361) 694-6142 or christopher.joyal@dchstx.org

Annual Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital coming to Cuero

July 29, 2011
CUERO - On Tuesday, August 9, young 4-H members and the DeWitt County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 6 p.m. at the Cuero VFW Hall, 934 U.S. Highway 183 N.

A silent auction will be held showcasing a variety of products and services that will appeal to guests, including plants, baked goods, livestock feed and other items from local businesses. Members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the DeWitt County Extension Office at (361) 275-0816.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 9

  • Where: Cuero VFW Hall, 934 U.S. Highway 183 N.

  • Information: (361) 694-6401 or (361) 275-0816

Alice RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

July 21, 2011
ALICE - On Tuesday, July 26, young 4-H members and the Jim Wells County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 11 a.m. at the Gulf Coast Livestock Auction in Alice.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors, like ranching supplies, baked goods, arts and crafts, gift cards, barbecue packages and hunter's equipment. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Jim Wells County Extension Office at (361) 668-5705.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 26

  • Where: Gulf Coast Livestock Auction, Alice

  • Information: (361) 668-5705 or (361) 694-6401

Library of specialized toys available to children with disabilities

July 18, 2011
Specialized toys from Driscoll's Toy Tech Lending Library are therapeutic for patients like Emilio, 5, who has tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy. Assisting him are Rachel Garcia, certified occupational therapy assistant (middle) and Amanda Germann, speech pathologist.
Specialized toys from Driscoll's Toy Tech Lending Library are therapeutic for patients like Emilio, 5, who has tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy. Assisting him are Rachel Garcia, certified occupational therapy assistant (middle) and Amanda Germann, speech pathologist.
CORPUS CHRISTI - It has been said that children learn best through play. With this in mind, and with support from the Easter Seals of Greater Houston and the Blanche Moore Foundation, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rehabilitation Services Department created a unique library that loans specialized toys to children of all ages with all types of disabilities.

According to Susan Fields, director of Rehabilitation Services at Driscoll, children explore their environment through play. "When we can help them play independently, we are helping them become independent learners. This is an important foundation for developing life skills," she says.

The new Toy Tech Lending Library at Driscoll provides a variety of toys adapted for children with varying degrees of motor disabilities. The toys, which are switch activated, can be used at home to practice skills a child has learned in his or her therapy sessions.

Since these toys are adapted especially for children with handicaps, they aren't readily available at a toy store and are often expensive.

A $30 toy, when adapted, can easily cost $100. However, through Driscoll's Lending Library, families are able to check out these adapted toys at no cost.

Just as with a book library, the toys are checked out for two to four weeks at a time. Upon return, another toy can be checked out. About 20 toys are available, and not just to Driscoll patients. All children in the community with disabilities are invited to borrow toys from the Toy Tech Lending Library.

Mary Ann Sosa's granddaughter, Madison, 5, is a patient at Driscoll. She suffers from cerebral palsy and often borrows toys from the Lending Library.

"It's a great thing. It really helps at home," Sosa says. "We are able to work at home on the things her therapists want her to work on. Right now she's learning to use her arms more."

Sosa explains that the toys make Madison want to use her arms more because of the reaction she gets from her grandmother.

"When Madison pushes the button on a toy, she notices it plays music and I cheer her on. She loves the attention she gets!"

Fields hopes more families take advantage of the Lending Library.

"We just started offering toys for check-out in April, so it's a fairly new program," she says. "The more these toys are utilized, the more toys we are able to receive through the grant."

For more information or to set up an orientation to the Toy Tech program, please call Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department at (361) 694-5678.

Santa Claus is coming to Brownsville in July

July 18, 2011
BROWNSVILLE - It's Christmas in July at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville! The Brownsville Driscoll Volunteer Auxiliary will hold its 5th annual Christmas in July event Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The community is invited to stop by and drop off an unwrapped toy to help ensure that all patients who receive treatment this coming holiday season will have a toy to take home. Santa Claus will be there to receive the toys.

"This is always such an amazing event, especially to see the Driscoll volunteers and the Brownsville community come together by donating toys in order to make certain our patients have an extra special Christmas," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation to this worthwhile effort or to show your support, stop by Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville on Thursday or call the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011. Checks may be made out to Driscoll Children's Specialty Center Auxiliary.

  • What: Christmas in July

  • When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 21

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway 77/83

  • Information: (361) 694-5011

Memory of late cousin prompts businessman to donate $150,000 nuclear camera to Driscoll clinic in McAllen

July 12, 2011
McALLEN - A Houston businessman has donated a gamma camera used for diagnosing cancer and other diseases to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen in memory of his late cousin, who was treated for leukemia at Driscoll Children's Hospital in 1977.

"I feel if you're not giving you're not living," said Richard Armijo, president of Advanced Nuclear Consultants LLC, a company that refurbishes gamma cameras and other equipment used to diagnose diseases. "I wanted to do something in memory of my cousin and Driscoll was the first hospital that came to my mind."

The gamma camera will enable pediatric radiologists at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen to perform nuclear medicine procedures such as renal, bone and lung scans. The procedures involve injecting a radioactive substance into the patient's body, capturing the energy it emanates with the camera and viewing the image on a computer screen. Radiologists then interpret the image and assist Driscoll's pediatric surgeons in treating the patient.

Armijo will be formally recognized for his donation during a ceremony at the Medical Plaza at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13. Driscoll officials will present him a plaque in appreciation.

Measuring about 12 by 12 feet, the gamma camera fills a room at the Medical Plaza. It is valued at over $150,000, Armijo said.

"It's a wonderful addition to the services Driscoll offers in the Rio Grande Valley," said Jan Kottke, clinic administrator at Driscoll. "We're very grateful for this generous donation."

Armijo said his late cousin, Astrid Claudia Hewitt, was 13 years old when she passed away from leukemia in Houston in 1984. He carried her memory throughout his life, as well as gratitude for the treatment she received at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Now, with a wife, three daughters, a son on the way and a growing business, it's time to help others like Driscoll helped his cousin, Armijo said.

"I've been blessed with my business and my family and I want to pass those blessings on to the children of South Texas."

  • What: Ceremony recognizing Richard Armijo

  • When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Cortez becomes executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics

July 05, 2011
Laura Cortez
Laura Cortez
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Laura Cortez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as executive director of the hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics. She will oversee operations at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

Cortez brings a wealth of healthcare management experience to Driscoll. She previously served for eight years as director of Women's Health Services for the South Texas Health System.