DCH News

Press Releases

MEDIA - FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mike Bratten, (361) 548-6073

Patients to get red carpet treatment at Celebrity Celebration

September 17, 2012
Annual holiday cards, Christmas storybook they designed go on sale Sept. 19

CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll's annual Hollywood-style Celebrity Celebration will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19 to mark the release of the hospital's 2012 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 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:

Lucas Berio, 7, of Corpus Christi
Natalia Berio, 13, of Corpus Christi
Samarah Aguilar, 7, of Corpus Christi
Andrew Parada, 5, of Corpus Christi
Uniece Nilo, 13, of Mercedes
Sean Gonzales, 10, of Corpus Christi
Alexis Falcon, 13, of Victoria
Daisy Tijerina, 5, of Corpus Christi
Jacqueline Gonzalez, 8, of Laredo

Storybook artists are:

Leland Gutierrez, 2, of Corpus Christi
Ava Johnson, 8, of Corpus Christi
Sabrina Cruz, 8, of Corpus Christi
Scarlett Hitt, 5, of Corpus Christi
Gregory Rogers, 5, of Corpus Christi
Lucas Berio, 7, of Corpus Christi
Christina Ruiz, 6, of Harlingen
Isamel Vela, 5, of Corpus Christi
Brayden Gibson, 4, of Corpus Christi
Elle Burnfield, 5, of Ingleside

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. 19
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll Health Plan going strong with value-added services

September 11, 2012
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Since its expansion last year, Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) has become firmly rooted in the 10-county Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), with 51,628 Medicaid members enrolled to date. DHP opened a new office in Edinburg in January and is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored plan in the Hidalgo SDA, which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

DHP goes beyond Medicaid benefits, offering members a long list of value-added services that promote healthy lifestyles and improved health. For example, pregnant women can receive dental care, new moms can receive gift cards for baby diapers and children can earn prizes for eating healthy and staying active.

Here is a snapshot of the value-added services that DHP offers. An asterisk indicates new services:

Transportation services - For eligible members, DHP will assist with transportation issues that may arise outside of the standard medical transportation program.
Preventive care dental benefits* - Pregnant members at least 21 years old may receive routine dental exams, dental x-rays, two teeth cleanings per year and additional gum treatment benefits.
Vision services - Children and adults can receive a $100 corrective eyewear allowance every 24 months.
Sports/school physicals - Free sports/school physicals are offered to all members ages 5-19.
Free cell phone minutes - DHP will provide application assistance for members to receive a free cell phone through the Lifeline Assistance Program and 250 additional minutes for pregnant members or members with special healthcare needs.
Cadena de Madres - This program includes prenatal education, lactation consulting, nutritional counseling and free prenatal educational baby showers for pregnant women enrolled in State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) and/or residing in the following counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy.
Birthing classes* - DHP will sponsor local hospital programs to provide birthing classes for DHP members.
Asthma services - DHP will provide a home evaluation for members with asthma. Asthma educators will interview the parent/member to identify triggers and assist families with care management services. Members participating in the evaluation will also receive a free pillow cover and bed cover.
Asthma camp sponsorships* - DHP will provide summer camp sponsorships for certain children ages 7-14 with asthma that are designed to provide physical and social experiences that are fun while increasing the child's understanding of his or her asthma.
Membership at Boys & Girls Clubs - DHP members can obtain a family membership by presenting their member ID card at any participating location throughout South Texas.
Going NonStopô Program* - Members track their daily habits such as physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, TV watching, computer use and fast food consumption.
Incentive programs for Texas Health Steps* - Members who complete a post-partum checkup and four newborn Texas Health Steps checkups on time will receive up to six gift certificates for disposable diapers and other rewards.
Emergency Preparedness Kit Gift Program* - DHP will provide one emergency preparedness kit per family upon enrollment.

"These value-added services demonstrate that DHP cares about our members," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DHP. "We want them to stay well and have some fun."

For more information about DHP, families in the Hidalgo SDA can go to www.dchpkids.com or call 855-425-3247. This is the first in a series of four press releases about DHP. Subsequent press releases will focus on specific value-added services under the plan.

Super evening planned for Driscoll's heroic cancer patients

September 06, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Children whose lives have been touched by cancer are in for an evening of fun and wonder Sept. 8 when Driscoll Children's Hospital hosts a celebration for them at the Texas State Aquarium. In conjunction with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Driscoll has reserved the venue for patients who are being treated or have completed treatment at the hospital's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center and their families.

Approximately 400,000 children receive treatment for cancer every day in the United States, according to Tara Adams, clinical coordinator at Driscoll's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. Those who are treated at Driscoll Children's Hospital often inspire the people around them.

"We can all learn something from children facing cancer treatment," said Cris Johnson, MD, medical director of the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. "It is an honor to care for these brave children and watch them thrive and grow with the medical care needed to cure their disease."

In recognition of their bravery, Driscoll staff will give each child a superhero cape when they arrive at the aquarium. Also on the agenda is the reading of a mayoral proclamation by Corpus Christi Mayor Pro Tem Chris Adler declaring Sept. 8 Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. The children will then be treated to a dolphin show and birds-in-flight show, followed by dinner.

As in years past, Driscoll has created t-shirts in observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The yellow shirts feature the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center logo, children holding hands in a circle and the words "Celebrating our Heroes." They are available to the public through Sept. 16 in Driscoll's Carousel Gift Shop. Sales will benefit the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center and support the events, educational materials and care offered to cancer patients.

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month event
When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Texas State Aquarium, 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd.

Darts, foosball, Xbox: Driscoll's Teen Lounge has it all and more

August 24, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - An oasis of entertainment designed specifically for adolescent patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital will be formally unveiled Tuesday. Driscoll officials will be joined by Sam Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corp., and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer of Stripes convenience stores, whose $1 million donation in 2009 made the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital Teen Lounge possible.

"The Teen Lounge will provide a therapeutic space for adolescents while they're in the hospital," said Michelle Goodman, fourth floor and Stripes Child Life Program director. "Patients who are 11 and older will find it comfortable and full of activities that are appropriate for their age group."

Located on the fourth floor of the hospital with a view of Corpus Christi Bay, the Teen Lounge features a 42-inch, flat screen TV, a media cabinet, movies on DVD and Wii and Xbox 360 video games. Patients can surf the Internet on a laptop computer or iPad. There's a foosball table, air hockey table, dart board, magazines, board games, arts and crafts, books and comfortable sofas.

This is Driscoll's second Teen Lounge. The first, opened on the sixth floor in December 2010, proved to be popular among older patients, Goodman said. A third Teen Lounge will be built on the seventh floor in the future, she added.

What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital Teen Lounge unveiling
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Sneak Peek Pre-Op Tour Program aims to reduce anxiety for patients, families before surgery

August 22, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - No matter the age of the person, having surgery can be a stressful experience. To help young patients feel more comfortable about an upcoming surgery, Driscoll Children's Hospital has developed the Sneak Peek Pre-Op Tour Program, a proactive approach that will allow children and their families to become familiar with the hospital and ask any questions they may have.

"When children know what to expect, they typically respond better during stressful situations like having surgery," said Michelle Goodman, MSN, RN, director of the 4th floor and Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "Also, when their parents and siblings can ask questions and see where they'll be going, this helps reduce anxiety levels all around and makes the hospital experience better."

Sneak Peek Pre-Op tours will be conducted once a week by Sara Robertson, a Child Life specialist who is trained in providing age-appropriate information to children and can answer questions regarding their care and surgery. Procedures could include dental surgeries, tonsillectomies, colonoscopies, spinal cord fusions, urological surgeries and numerous others.

Patients and their families will be taken to the Day Surgery Unit to see the holding room, operating room, Day Surgery waiting area and recovery room. If the patient is scheduled to be admitted for an overnight stay, they may arrange to visit Driscoll's Inpatient Unit as well, Goodman said.

Goodman recommends that parents make a Sneak Peek Pre-Op Tour reservation as soon as they learn their child's date of surgery. Depending on the age of the patient, the tour may be scheduled up to two weeks in advance. For children younger than five years old, Goodman suggests that parents schedule the tour as close to the admission date as possible. She added that some tours may be private to meet patients' and families' individual needs.

Parents can schedule a tour by calling (361) 694-5760 or e-mailing preoptour@dchstx.org.

Community pitching in for annual Edinburg RoundUp

August 08, 2012
EDINBURG - On Saturday, Aug. 11, young 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and the Hidalgo County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 10 a.m. at the Edinburg Livestock Auction.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to farmers, ranchers and visitors. All will be provided by 4-H and FFA members and area businesses. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and additional program support for children receiving care at Driscoll Children's Hospital here in the Rio Grande Valley.

To make a donation and support the healthcare needs of local children, go to www.driscollchildrens.org, call Reagan Florence at (956) 223-0687 or call the Hidalgo County Extension Office at (956) 383-1026.

What: 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11
Where: Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.

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

July 31, 2012
CUERO - On Tuesday, August 7, young 4-H members and the DeWitt County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 25th 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 additional program support for children receiving care at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students, visit Driscoll's web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the DeWitt County Extension Office at (361) 275-0816.
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What: 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 7
Where: Cuero VFW Hall, 934 U.S. Highway 183 N.

Heart disease is no obstacle for Driscoll patients headed to annual summer camp

July 23, 2012
ROCKPORT - Twenty-five cardiac patients from Driscoll Children's Hospital departed yesterday to attend the sixth annual Camp Hearty at Camp Aranzazu near Rockport. The camp runs through Wednesday. The children will participate in activities such as kayaking, swimming, nature hikes, fishing, a ropes course and more.

"This camp allows the kids to see that they are not alone in facing serious heart disease and mostly just lets them have a great time," said Cathy Camp, cardiology nurse clinician at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Camp said the children have come from all over South Texas, including Victoria, Laredo, Alice, the Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi. They have all had at least one open heart surgery for congenital heart defects, and some have had multiple cardiac catheterizations and surgeries for more complex heart diseases.

Camp Hearty is made possible by sponsors such as ExxonMobil, which made this year's largest donation of $5,000.

"We admire the strength of these children as they continue their fight against heart disease," said Clay Powell, senior field superintendent for ExxonMobil South Texas Operations. "We're proud to support Camp Hearty and hope the kids have a fun camp experience this summer just being kids. We wish for them a healthy future."

What: Sixth annual Camp Hearty for Driscoll cardiac patients
When: July 22-25
Where: Camp Aranzazu, near Rockport

Alice RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

July 17, 2012
ALICE - On Tuesday, July 24, young 4-H members and the Jim Wells County Extension Office will team up for the 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital. The event will begin at noon at the Gulf Coast Livestock Market in Alice.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp such as ranching supplies, baked goods, arts and crafts and hunting 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 additional program support for children receiving care at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students, go to www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Jim Wells County Extension Office at (361) 668-5705.

What: 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp
When: Noon Tuesday, July 24
Where: Gulf Coast Livestock Market, 3015 S. Hwy. 281, Alice

Cancer patients show their mettle at annual summer camp

July 16, 2012
Driscoll patients (from left) Javier Gonzalez Jr., Nicholas Chapa and Juan Castillo made a four-legged friend at Camp Star Trails.
Driscoll patients (from left) Javier Gonzalez Jr., Nicholas Chapa and Juan Castillo made a four-legged friend at Camp Star Trails.
Every summer, patients ages 5-12 from Driscoll Children's Hospital's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center and their siblings attend Camp Star Trails at Camp for All in Burton, Texas. During this year's week-long adventure, June 17-23, more than 40 campers enjoyed archery, fishing, canoeing, dance parties and other activities, all the while making lasting friendships. Siblings are encouraged to attend the camp because it gives them a chance to cope with their feelings about their brother's or sister's diagnosis and the changes in their family structure and daily routine.

The theme for this year's camp, "Superheroes of Fun," was appropriate for the children who are heroically battling cancer. Some are currently undergoing treatment, while others are off-therapy, and some are being monitored for late effects of their disease or treatment.

The camp shows children that they can do anything, said Cris Johnson, MD, medical director of Driscoll's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center.

"They amaze me! We have a patient who lost his leg due to cancer and he conquered the ropes course fearlessly. This camp gives our patients opportunities to build self-esteem by rediscovering that they can do activities that other children take for granted."