DCH News

Driscoll opens Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic in Laredo

October 22, 2013
At the open house Oct. 16 were (left to right): Miguel De Leon, MD, medical director, Driscoll Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Ryan Loftin, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Jorge P. Orezzoli, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; Anna Gonzalez, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Celso Rodriguez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; John Visintine, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas; Jatin Patel, DO, Driscoll pediatric cardiologist; and  Omar Perez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist.
At the open house Oct. 16 were (left to right): Miguel De Leon, MD, medical director, Driscoll Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Ryan Loftin, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Jorge P. Orezzoli, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; Anna Gonzalez, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Celso Rodriguez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; John Visintine, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas; Jatin Patel, DO, Driscoll pediatric cardiologist; and Omar Perez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist.
LAREDO - On Oct. 16, Driscoll Children's Hospital hosted an open house at their new Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic at 6423 McPherson Rd., Suite 13. Driscoll physicians, including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, a pediatric cardiologist and neonatologist, were joined by local physicians, as well as Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas, to celebrate the new clinic. Driscoll's maternal-fetal medicine program is excited about this endeavor and look forward to collaborating with local obstetricians in providing the highest level of care to women in the Laredo area. The clinic can be reached at (956) 764-7000.

Patients will be treated to Halloween party at Driscoll Children's Hospital

October 15, 2013
WHAT: The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is partnering with volunteers from Spirit Halloween's Spirit of Children program to bring a Halloween party to patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital, including free costumes, activities and refreshments.

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15

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

Driscoll Children's Hospital earns 2013 Path to Excellence award for its commitment to improving the patient experience

October 07, 2013
Mauricio Flores, MD, endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital, and Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations, accept the 2013 Path to Excellence award Sept. 22 in Baltimore.
Mauricio Flores, MD, endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital, and Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations, accept the 2013 Path to Excellence award Sept. 22 in Baltimore.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital has been selected by National Research Corporation as a recipient of the 2013 Path to Excellence award. Driscoll was recognized at the 19th Annual International Patient-Centered Care Symposium in Baltimore on Sept. 22.

National Research selected Path to Excellence award recipients based on their achievement within categories that patients have identified as being most important to the quality of their care. The award is only bestowed upon those organizations that are ranked by patients as being a top performer in one of the following categories: Rate Hospital, Specialty Hospital: Rank Hospital, Children's Hospital: Overall Rating, Adult: Would Recommend Doctor's Office, Pediatric: Would Recommend Doctor's Office, Catalyst Improvement Planner Champion and Most Improved Client.

The winners were selected from the extensive database of National Research hospital customers for their performance over the last four quarters. Driscoll was a top-ranked children's hospital in the Most Improved: Rate Hospital category.

"National Research congratulates Driscoll Children's Hospital for their outstanding achievements," said Susan Henricks, president and chief operating officer of National Research. "We understand that driving improvement changes across an organization takes an incredible amount of resources and dedication - and Driscoll has done exactly that. They are committed to providing the best healthcare possible for their patients and families."

As a 2013 award recipient, Driscoll is among a select group of healthcare innovators leading the way on the path to patient-centered care.

"By partnering with National Research and utilizing its measurement and quality improvement solutions, we have been able to implement changes and make the necessary adjustments to improve the patient and family care," said Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations. "This improvement also gives patients and families the trust and confidence they deserve when seeking the right healthcare provider."

Driscoll nurse cares for babies where she was once a tiny patient

October 07, 2013
Christianna "Chris" Donald, 25, cares for an infant in Driscoll Children's Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, where she was treated as a newborn.
Chris Donald's story is third in Driscoll Children's Hospital's 60th anniversary series

CORPUS CHRISTI - In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Driscoll Children's Hospital, tiny babies sleep tranquilly in incubators amid the occasional whispers of nurses and the faint beeps and hums of medical equipment. Infants from all over South Texas are brought here to be treated for disease, injury, complications due to premature birth and numerous other maladies.

With gloved hands, registered nurse Christianna "Chris" Donald gently adjusts a tube connected to a boy less than a month old from the Rio Grande Valley. He was born with congenital heart defects, and Donald has a special bond with him. As a newborn nearly 26 years ago, she was a patient in this same unit for the same reason.

"He's going to have the exact same surgeries I had," she said.

Donald was admitted to Driscoll's NICU within 24 hours of being born, she said. One of her lungs kept collapsing and tubes called catheters had to be inserted into her chest. Her heart was missing two heart valves and a one ventricle - conditions that required surgery. (Ventricles are chambers on each side of the heart that receive blood and force it into the arteries.) Donald underwent three open heart surgeries by age 4; two were performed at Driscoll and one in Minnesota.

Although she recovered successfully, Donald's condition meant she would need medical attention for the rest of her life. She was 12 years old the last time she was a patient at Driscoll, she said, and she remains under the care of a cardiologist.

Her surgeries at such a young age naturally worried Donald's parents. Her mother became close to her doctors and nurses at Driscoll and remembers their names to this day. So it didn't surprise Donald when her mother gave her a list of nurses to look for when she started working at Driscoll in August 2012.

"My family liked Driscoll's nurses the best," she said. "They were the most genuine."

One of the people who treated Donald at Driscoll 25 years ago, cardiologist Billy Rios, MD, continues to be a positive influence in her life. Dr. Rios, who still practices at Driscoll, was her cardiologist until just a few months ago.

"First I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist because I wanted to be just like him," Donald said. "I send him Christmas cards every year."

Many letters, photos and cards from current and former patients are displayed along a wall in Dr. Rios' office. He pointed out several mementos from Donald that range from when she was a baby to when she graduated from college.

"I treat all my patients as if they were my own," Dr. Rios said. "I'm very proud of Chris and all she's accomplished. She never gave up. I've watched her grow up, through different stages, and she was always in good spirits, always asking questions and wanting to learn everything she could. Nothing was going to deter her from accomplishing her goals."

Donald ultimately decided to pursue nursing, graduating from Texas Tech University in 2010. She began working in a NICU in Lubbock shortly afterward. But it was when she returned to Driscoll's NICU as a nurse that she felt her life had come full circle.

"I understand the parents' fears now," she said. "I feel for them. I want to give their child the best care I can because nurses can make an impact, like they did in my life."

Giving children and families hope is important to Donald too. She has volunteered at Camp Hearty, a summer camp for children with congenital heart defects that Driscoll sponsors annually in Rockport,
and she often offers support to families in the NICU.

"Chris has an outstanding ability to connect with the babies and families in the NICU," said Ana Olivera-Hamm, a chaplain at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Donald's friend. "Not only is she a NICU survivor and graduate, but a conqueror. Only God could have ordained her healing and her calling to become a healer herself."

Donald is as healthy as she is happy. She hasn't had any major complications from her heart condition, and a daily dose of blood pressure medication is one of the few reminders of her ordeal. She has even backpacked across Alaska with her parents, where they now live, she said. And, with a husband who is in pharmacy school, she is focused on the future and having children.
Nevertheless, she doesn't take her good health for granted.

"All my life I've been given a finite number of years to live - maybe 12 years, maybe more," Donald said. "Now I'm told I'll probably have a normal lifespan. You either get devastated because your life may be short or you make the best of it. It's in God's hands."

This is the third in a series of stories about extraordinary patients that Driscoll Children's Hospital is sharing throughout 2013 as part of its 60th anniversary celebration.

Country music artists to entertain at Driscoll's Singer Songwriter Showcase

October 02, 2013
WHAT: Notable country music artists Tim Nichols, Marv Green and Jason Sellers will take the stage tomorrow night at Driscoll Children's Hospital's 8th annual Singer Songwriter Showcase at the Corpus Christi Country Club. The event precedes the 18th annual Golf Tournament on Friday. Proceeds from the events benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital.

WHEN: Singer Songwriter Showcase: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3
Golf Tournament: Registration at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. buffet luncheon
1 p.m. shotgun start
5:30 p.m. awards party

WHERE: Corpus Christi Country Club, 6300 Everhart Rd.

Driscoll celebrates Child Passenger Safety Week

September 25, 2013
(From left to right) Natalie Garcia, child passenger safety technician and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse at Driscoll, and Hazel Zepeda of Texas Department of Transportation helped perform car seat inspections during National Car Seat Check Saturday.
(From left to right) Natalie Garcia, child passenger safety technician and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse at Driscoll, and Hazel Zepeda of Texas Department of Transportation helped perform car seat inspections during National Car Seat Check Saturday.
In 2011, an estimated 123,000 children under age 13 were injured in traffic accidents. For children ages 1 to 13, it is the leading cause of death.

With the goal of educating parents and caregivers on correctly securing all children in the right car restraint for their ages and sizes, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention specialists took to the airwaves during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 15 - 21.

Rounding out the informative week, Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program (IPP) and community partners participated in National Car Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 21. Despite rainy weather, they checked 51 car seats and spoke with parents about proper installation and usage of their children's car restraints.

For those who had improper or outdated car seats, Driscoll's IPP provided a replacement at no cost. Within the first hour, seven car seats were replaced, and by the end of the three-hour event, the IPP had given out 18 brand new car seats.

"Car seats are most effective when they are installed and used correctly," said Tiffany Collie, Injury Prevention specialist. "It's important for us to get the word out and let the community know that we offer car seat checks year-round by appointment, free of charge."

To schedule an appointment for a car seat inspection, call Driscoll's IPP at (361) 694-6700.

Celebrity Celebration will showcase Driscoll patients' artwork

September 17, 2013
Annual holiday cards, Christmas storybook with their designs go on sale tomorrow

CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll's annual Hollywood-style Celebrity Celebration will be held tomorrow to mark the release of the hospital's 2013 holiday card collection and Christmas storybook. Celebrities at the event will be past and present Driscoll patients who created designs for the items.

"This is one of the largest, most exciting annual events we have and the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital is proud to put it on," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services. "We look forward to rolling out the red carpet and putting the spotlight on our little stars."

For this annual tradition, Driscoll patients from throughout South Texas drew pictures for nine holiday cards and a Christmas storybook. Community members selected the artwork to be used. Proceeds from sales of the items will go toward the Marcia K. Wilcox scholarship, which has benefited more than 90 Driscoll cancer patients since its inception.

This year's holiday card artists are:

Audrey Braugh, 9, of Corpus Christi
Mia Martinez, 12, of Corpus Christi
Melissa Gallardo, 11, of Port Isabel
Madeline Robinson, 11, of Corpus Christi
Keiana Vardon, 6, of Corpus Christi
Rachel Bundrick, 11, of Corpus Christi
Parker Mayfield, 3, of Taft
Teresa Esparza, 9, of Corpus Christi
Nyah Arismendez, 7, of Beeville

Storybook artists are:

Korin Cruz, 8, of Robstown
Aldrick Judd, 8, of Corpus Christi
Sabrina Cruz, 9, of Corpus Christi
Charleigh Wilson, 7, of Corpus Christi
Aidan Flores, 9, of Aransas Pass
Melissa Gallardo, 11, of Port Isabel
Rachel Bundrick, 11, of Corpus Christi
Jennifer Gonzales, 5, of Deer Park
Wendy Inocencio, 8, of McAllen
Emily Haefs, 16, of Corpus Christi

The children's artwork will be unveiled after they enter Driscoll's auditorium on a red carpet amid camera flashes and applause. Then they'll autograph their work for family, friends and fans. Following the celebration, they'll be treated to a limo ride to Gattitown for some food and fun.

The holiday cards and Christmas storybook can be purchased through Driscoll's web site, www.driscollchildrens.org, and at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop. For more information, call (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE.

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Celebrity Celebration
When: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll Children's Hospital to offer free car seat inspections

September 13, 2013
WHAT: In conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 15-21, 2013, and National Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 (www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps), the Injury Prevention Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will offer free inspections of child car safety seats. Parents are invited to bring their car seats and receive instruction on proper use and safety.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
WHERE: Injury Prevention Program building (portable building behind the Health Center), Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St.
INFO: (361) 694-6700

Los pacientes con cáncer de Driscoll muestran tener "Lo que se Necesita"

August 28, 2013
El Collar de
El Collar de "sobreviviente" de Rhianna Brizuela es una fuente de orgullo para la niña de 4 años de edad.
Evento planeado para el 7 de Septiembre conmemorando el mes de
Concientización acerca del Cáncer Infantil con temática, "Guerreros"

CORPUS CHRISTI -Los pacientes con cáncer del Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll fácilmente pueden describirse como guerreros. Se han adaptado a luchar contra una enfermedad potencialmente mortal con resistencia y valentía, al mismo tiempo que mantienen a flote la moral de sus familias.

El 7 de Septiembre, Driscoll honrará el espíritu combativo de sus pacientes de cáncer conmemorar el mes de concientización sobre el cáncer infantil con una celebración con temática de guerreros en el Museo del USS Lexington en la bahía. Cerca de 150 pacientes y sus familias de todo el Sur de Texas han sido invitados. En consonancia con el tema de Guerrero, cada paciente recibirá una plaquita de identidad como recuerdo. Concejala de la ciudad de Corpus Christi, Lillian Riojas, leerá una proclamación declarando Septiembre 7, Día de Conciencia contra el Cáncer Infantil y el puente de la bahía cercana se iluminará en amarillo especialmente para la ocasión.

Aquí tienen información de tres héroes que planean asistir al evento:

Rhianna Brizuela
4 años de edad

Detrás de la bonita sonrisa, conducta tímida y dulce Rhianna es una niña fuerte que luchó contra el cáncer desde que era sólo un bebé. Su madre, Itzamara Pedraza, la llevó a un pediatra cuando tenía cuatro meses porque tenía protuberancias del tamaño de una moneda de 10 centavos en el vientre y sus axilas. Se descubrió que Rihanna tiene neuroblastoma, y aún más preocupante para su madre que la enfermedad se encontraba en etapa cuatro de acuerdo a una escala de gravedad de cuatro etapas.

"Estaba en shock", dijo la Sra. Pedraza. "La primera semana sólo lloraba. Luego me detuve porque tenía que ser fuerte para mi hija."

Ms. Pedraza decidió llevar a Rhianna al Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll para el tratamiento especializado que necesitaba. En Driscoll, fue sometida a numerosos exámenes, análisis y radiografías antes de comenzar tratamientos de quimioterapia regular. Fue entonces cuando Rhianna mostró su verdadero Temple.

"Era sólo un bebé, pero nunca estuvo de mal humor o algo así," dijo la Sra. Pedraza. "No sé dónde sacó esa fuerza. Ella es una niña de fuerte cabeza".

En Junio de 2009, la glándula suprarrenal derecha de Rhianna fue extraída por un cirujano de Driscoll para prevenir el regreso del cáncer, dijo su madre. También se le insertó un mediport en el pecho - un aparato a través del cual los médicos pueden administrar medicamentos de quimioterapia en un vaso sanguíneo o extraer una muestra de sangre.

La Sra. Pedraza dijo que su hija ahora se encuentra en el lado "más seguro", pero que tiene que venir a Driscoll, una vez al año para visitas de seguimiento.

Difundir el mensaje de que el cáncer puede afectar cualquier persona independientemente de su edad es importante para la Sra. Pedraza.

"Haré cualquier cosa para ayudar a crear conciencia de que los niños también se enferman de cáncer", dijo.

Sara Cavazos
7 años de edad

Dijo su madre, Anna Cavazos, " fue un momento que cambió mi vida" cuando Sara fue diagnosticada con cáncer en su riñón y ganglios abdominales, el año pasado. La buena noticia era que, debido a la edad de Sara y la falta de una predisposición genética, el cáncer de riñón era "muy tratable", dijo La Sra. Cavazos.
Los médicos en el Hospital Pediátrico Driscoll rápidamente desarrollaron un plan de tratamiento para Sara que primero incluyó la extracción de un tumor canceroso de su riñón, que se realizó justo antes de Navidad, seguida por tratamientos de radiación y quimioterapia en Driscoll Children Medical Plaza en McAllen.

Como es común con los pacientes sometidos a tratamiento contra el cáncer, Sara perdió su pelo. Y debido a su inmunidad baja, tuvo que recibir su educación en casa. Sin embargo, ella manejó los retos como un soldado, inspirando a su propia familia.

"Es una luchadora, un verdadero héroe," dijo La Sra. Cavazos. "Que casi nunca se ve cabizbaja o deprimida. Su frase favorita es, "yo lo tengo mamá, lo venceré. Creo que ha sido más difícil para sus padres, que para ella".

La Sra. Cavazos dijo que un punto alto a través del viaje de Sara con cáncer ocurrió en junio pasado cuando asistió al "Camp Star Trails", un campamento de verano en Burton diseñado para niños con enfermedades crónicas y discapacidades. Una de las hermanas mayores de Sara la acompañó.

"Lo pasaron muy bien", dijo La Sra. Cavazos. "Tuvieron la oportunidad de conocer a otros niños con enfermedades, relacionarse con ellos y darse cuenta que no son los únicos que batallan con esto".

La perseverancia de Sara no ha sido en vano. Recientemente su cabello empezó a crecer, y en Julio, los médicos de Driscoll confirmaron que se encuentra libre de cáncer, dijo La Sra. Cavazos.

"Recibió el 'Todo Claro'" una semana después de su cumpleaños. Ahora está muy entusiasmada en volver a la escuela y estar con sus amigos nuevamente."

Mateo Garza
6 años de edad

Cada jueves, Matthew puede encontrarse jugando sus videojuegos favoritos entre los exámenes de laboratorio y tratamientos de quimioterapia en el Centro de Cáncer y de trastornos Sanguíneos de Driscoll. Ahora se encuentra en la fase de mantenimiento del tratamiento para leucemia linfoblástica aguda, una enfermedad que tomó por sorpresa a sus padres cuando fue diagnosticado por los médicos de Driscoll hace un poco más de dos años, a los 4 años.

"Al principio estábamos en shock total, casi en negación," dijo la madre de Matthew, Melinda Garza. "Creo que la negación terminó cuando su hermana me preguntó si su hermano iba a morir. Eso fue como un despertador".

Aunque a Mateo le faltan alrededor de 15 meses de tratamientos contra el cáncer, él se ve tan sano y juguetón como cualquier niño de 6 años de edad. El año pasado, participó en el programa "Piloto por 1 Día", en el cual pacientes de Driscoll y sus familias son los invitados de honor a una de las Estaciones Aéreas Naval local. El aprecia mucho atesora el traje de vuelo a medida que le dieron los pilotos en la Base Aérea Naval de Kingsville, dijo su madre.

El espíritu de lucha de Mateo ha sido una bendición para su familia, especialmente durante los primeros dos desafiantes años de tratamiento.

"Ha sido increíble", dijo la Sra. Garza. "Él jamás se ha quejado. Él nos ha dado la fuerza para seguir adelante."

El padre de Matthew, Gabriel Garza, recordó un reciente viaje que él y su hijo hicieron al rancho familiar en las afueras de Alice después de una sesión de quimioterapia.

Dijo, "Le gusta montar sobre el tractor y poner maíz para los animales, así que fue conmigo". "Él incluso no se perturbó por la quimio. Fue como si nada hubiese sucedido pasado".

Harper recognized for contributions to child abuse pediatrics

August 27, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recognized Nancy Harper, MD, FAAP, medical director of the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, for her participation as a member of the planning group for PREP®: CAP An Update of Child Abuse Pediatrics, held in Norfolk, Va., July 11-14, 2013.

A continuing medical education activity, PREP®: CAP is a comprehensive update of child abuse pediatrics that emphasizes the process of evidence-based clinical decision-making and focuses on the scientific basis for the clinical practice of pediatric medicine. Member contributions to this educational effort are recognized as a gift to the improvement of care for infants, children and adolescents.

"The Academy is a top provider of quality Pediatric Continuing Medical Education," said Robert Perelman, MD, FAAP, director of the AAP Department of Education. "It is through the continued commitment of outstanding members, like Dr. Harper, that enables the Academy to accomplish the excellence in education that has become our goal of achievement."