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

Woerner elected to statewide hospital association board

January 03, 2012
Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital
Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital
CORPUS CHRISTI - Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital, has been elected to the Texas Hospital Association's (THA) Board of Trustees. He took office Jan. 1 for a three-year term.

Woerner is a former member of THA's Council on Policy Development, and he served a one-year unexpired term on the THA board in 2011.

With more than 30 years of healthcare experience, Woerner served as the CEO of Corpus Christi Medical Center before joining Driscoll. He also previously served as CEO of Denton Regional Medical Center and was responsible for the operations of six hospitals in North Texas owned by Epic Healthcare Group.

Woerner is involved in numerous charitable and civic activities in Corpus Christi and has served as a medical missionary for Clinica Corpus Christi in Guatemala.

He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Driscoll's annual Holiday Spectacular is a chance for rehabilitation patients to shine on stage

December 13, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - For many school children, performing in a holiday play is a rite of passage. Children receiving rehabilitation therapy at Driscoll Children's Hospital are given the same opportunity every year during the annual Holiday Spectacular, a tradition that began eight years ago to entertain hospitalized patients and their families. Performers in the show, to be staged Dec. 14, will be patients from Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department, their siblings and guest performers from the community.

This year's show will be directed by Driscoll's Christine Carter, a speech-language pathologist and dancer with the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, and Heidi Lathrop, a physical therapist at Driscoll and former dancer.

"Each year, it is amazing to see our special children give a performance to a standing-room only audience," Carter said. "It is a heartwarming performance that embodies the spirit of Christmas. Our children, who have physical, emotional, mental and linguistic disabilities, seem not to be aware of their own limitations, but are excited to work on their roles and to give a performance sure to spread joy for all who come to see."

In 2004, Driscoll's rehabilitation patients were invited to perform with the Corpus Christi Symphony's holiday show, then conducted by Lee Gwozdz. The children were given a standing ovation and since then, the show has been performed each year by the children of Driscoll's Rehab Department for the hospital's patients and families.

Carter said this year the children will be performing "The Magic Toyshop," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and excerpts from "The Nutcracker" featuring guest artists. The show will end with a special nativity scene. Additional performances by the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet will take place between the children's performances.

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Holiday Spectacular

  • When: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14

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

Nearly 550 Coastal Bend residents receive pneumonia vaccine through Task Force's pilot project

November 30, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - In June, it was announced that the newly created Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force, led by Corpus Christi's three largest hospital systems, had assessed the major health needs of the Coastal Bend area through a study conducted by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The assessment led to the Task Force's first project, pneumonia vaccinations. Beginning in September, vaccinations began being offered to the community - including people without health insurance - at area H-E-B pharmacies and various health centers in Corpus Christi, Portland, Robstown, Freer, Beeville and Sinton. The Task Force recommended that residents of the Coastal Bend ages 50 and above and those with chronic health conditions get vaccinated. They also emphasized that children ages 5 years or younger who haven't been immunized against pneumonia be vaccinated, as well as newborns receiving booster shots at two, four and six months.

Nearly 550 residents of the Coastal Bend took advantage of the pneumonia vaccinations. In September, 195 people were vaccinated and 354 in October, for a total of 549.

"This was a successful pilot project for the Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force," said Eddie Read, Vice President of Finance at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "More than 500 people received a vaccination that could keep them out of the hospital. As word spreads about the work we're doing and more resources become available, the Task Force partners hope to keep offering these health initiatives to the community. Most importantly, we aim to keep them available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay."

The Task Force's complete report can be found at www.coastalbendhealthfinder.com. The website is designed to be a one-stop source of information about services available for the health and well-being of residents in 15 Coastal Bend counties.

The Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Assessment Task Force is made up of community leaders from CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Driscoll Children's Health Plan, Driscoll Children's Hospital, Corpus Christi Medical Center, the United Way of the Coastal Bend and the Nueces County Medical Society & Alliance.

Driscoll's Kidney Center marks 50th transplant

November 30, 2011
Program began on Feb. 14, 2007 with brother donating to brother

CORPUS CHRISTI - On Sept. 29, a 6-year-old boy from McAllen received a new kidney at Driscoll Children's Hospital, making him the 50th kidney transplant recipient since the hospital started performing the procedure in 2007. His was also the third living donor transplant.

Fifty successful transplants is a praiseworthy achievement by Driscoll Children's Kidney Center because for many years, South Texas children with kidney failure had no place to obtain healthcare services, said Chief of Staff Bill Allen, MD.

"These children originally had to drive to Galveston for dialysis and transplant services. Within the last 25 years services were developed in Houston and then San Antonio, but still there were no services in South Texas for children with kidney disease."

Over the past decade, Driscoll developed the first dialysis services and kidney transplant program in South Texas. With clinics staffed by board-certified pediatric nephrologists in

Laredo, Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Corpus Christi, Driscoll can now provide

South Texas children with the same quality services that would be available in Denver,

Los Angeles or anywhere in America, Dr. Allen said.

"There is a sense of accomplishment and real joy in being able to provide the very highest standard of care for all south Texas children with kidney disease," he said.

Here are some interesting facts about Driscoll's Kidney Transplant Program:

  • The first transplant on Feb. 14, 2007 was a brother donating a kidney to his brother.

  • The majority of transplant recipients live in the Rio Grande Valley.

  • Three mothers have donated kidneys to their sons; one donated to her daughter.

  • An aunt donated a kidney to her nephew.

  • Two fathers donated to their sons; one dad to his daughter.

  • Two sets of brothers have had kidney transplants.

Presentation to focus on need for donor breast-milk

November 29, 2011
WHAT: Mom's Place, a breastfeeding resource center and donor breast-milk collection site at Driscoll Children's Hospital, invites the community to a presentation on non-profit milk banks and the safe processing of donor human milk for medically fragile babies. The goal of the presentation is to bring awareness to the community about the use of donor milk for premature babies and sick children and to increase the number of women who donate their milk. Presenter will be Kim Updegrove, executive director of the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin. RSVP is required (see below).

WHEN: 9 - 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12

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

RSVP: Laurie Beck, (361) 694-5338

Carr promoted to assistant vice president at Driscoll

November 21, 2011
Patricia Carr
Patricia Carr
CORPUS CHRISTI - Patricia Carr has been promoted to assistant vice president of Patient Care Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Carr has been a nursing leader at Driscoll as the director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Transport Team. She has been at the hospital since 1993 and in a NICU leadership position for 16 years. Carr has been instrumental in developing a family-centered and developmental care approach within the organization. She is currently working toward a doctorate at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Driscoll bilingual employees receive national designation

November 11, 2011
(Standing, from left) Evelyn Ferrer, course instructor and director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital; Maria Gonzalez, Sonia Chapa, Ellen Carruthers, Gricelda Cantu, Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll and Peniel Martinez, course instructor and Patient Relations representative; (sitting, from left) Dora Renteria, Rebecca Garza and Nora Garcia.
(Standing, from left) Evelyn Ferrer, course instructor and director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital; Maria Gonzalez, Sonia Chapa, Ellen Carruthers, Gricelda Cantu, Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll and Peniel Martinez, course instructor and Patient Relations representative; (sitting, from left) Dora Renteria, Rebecca Garza and Nora Garcia.
McALLEN - A handful of employees and volunteers at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen were recently designated Spanish Bilingual Assistants (SBA) by the National Medical Interpreter Project. The project, dedicated to supporting language access for non-English-speaking families, is designed to provide a bilingual individual with the basic tools for providing interpretation.

Evelyn Ferrer, director of Interpretation Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital and one of the class instructors, began providing the course for hospital employees in 2008. This is the second class offered to Rio Grande Valley employees.

"Our commitment is to facilitate communication between patients and families with limited English proficiency and their healthcare providers in an accurate, complete, professional and confidential manner," Ferrer said.

Three employees and four members of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital were chosen for the 60-hour curriculum, which covered topics such as introduction to medical interpreting, culture and medicine, legal issues and ethics, basic anatomy and physiology, diseases and conditions and tests and procedures.

Specially trained interpreters are in high demand at Driscoll. Just last month, Driscoll's interpreters logged more than 500 interpretation encounters.

Newly designated SBAs are:

  • Gricelda Cantu, volunteer

  • Ellen Carruthers, volunteer

  • Sonia Chapa, volunteer

  • Nora Garcia, volunteer

  • Rebecca Garza, RN, Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen

  • Maria Gonzalez, LVN, Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen

  • Dora Renteria, Certified Medical Assistant, Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza -  McAllen

Stratton joins Driscoll as geneticist

November 11, 2011
Robert F. Stratton, Jr., MD
Robert F. Stratton, Jr., MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Robert F. Stratton, Jr., MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a geneticist. He was formerly an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Stratton earned his medical degree in 1975 at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his residency in pediatrics in 1978 at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and performed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Stratton is certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Pediatrics.

Driscoll, H-E-B join to make grocery shopping therapeutic

November 09, 2011
Project will be the first of its kind in a children's hospital

CORPUS CHRISTI - The regular trip to the grocery store - a life's chore that is tedious for some adults and perhaps enjoyable for others - will in the near future be a part of Driscoll Children's Hospital's rehabilitation therapy program.

With some extra space to fill in Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department, staff members recently brainstormed on what to do with it. Their goal was to have a place for pretend-play. A member mentioned seeing an H-E-Buddy Market at the Children's Museum of Houston, which gives children the grocery shopping experience in miniature. The group realized the therapeutic possibilities the activity would offer to Driscoll patients.

"When you put it all together, the grocery store would help us create a series of events that are encountered in the real world," said Susan Fields, director of Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department. "Children learn best when they don't know they are working."

A meeting with representatives from H-E-B followed, and the company enthusiastically decided to donate $30,000 toward an H-E-Buddy Market at Driscoll. Tomorrow, officials from H-E-B will present a check to Driscoll officials for the project and display items from the H-E-Buddy Market. When completed, it will include small grocery carts and baskets, shelves of child-friendly food packages, plastic produce, a refrigerated food section, check-out stand, a touch-screen cash register and more.

H-E-Buddy Markets in children's museums such as those in Houston and Laredo are designed to engage children in activities that will help them learn and grow, said Shelley Parks, manager of Public Affairs for H-E-B.

"The museums offer children a chance to make decisions based on healthy eating, menus, what they can buy for the money they have to spend and how to count and make change. There are a lot of learning activities that go into the museums."

Fields said several rehabilitative therapies can be employed in the mini-market as well. With Driscoll's physical therapists, children can improve their standing and balancing ability by reaching and picking items from high and low shelves. Pushing a grocery cart can help those who need to work on walking. In a play kitchen next to the grocery store, they can choose where to store the food. Speech therapists can help children improve language skills by having them name, match, categorize or describe products. And with Driscoll's occupational therapists, children can work on problem solving by planning a meal, purchasing items, making change and generally improving their fine motor skills.

"All these goals can be addressed while playing in a first-class, pretend-play environment," Fields said. "We're taking something H-E-B has done very well and we're going to apply it to helping the children in the community that we both serve."

Parks said incorporating an H-E-Buddy Market into a children's hospital for rehabilitative purposes hasn't been done before.

"H-E-B is proud to be able to partner with Driscoll on this unique program. The idea that children will learn to improve their balance and dexterity by using grocery carts, pulling items off of shelves, ringing up items, etc....is a wonderful example of creative thinking that works."

When completed, the H-E-Buddy Market at Driscoll will be available to any child in the community who needs rehabilitation therapy. For more information, call Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department at (361) 694-5678.


  • What: H-E-Buddy Market display and check presentation

  • When: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10

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

Fergie recognized by American Academy of Pediatrics

November 02, 2011
Jaime Fergie, MD, FAAP, FIDSA
Jaime Fergie, MD, FAAP, FIDSA
CORPUS CHRISTI - Jaime Fergie, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently received an award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Boston in recognition of the distinguished service he rendered as an elected member of the executive committee of the Section on Infectious Diseases from 2005 to 2011. Members of the Section on Infectious Diseases, founded in 1990, meet to develop ideas and generate educational forums that will improve the care of infants, children and adolescents. They also serve in a liaison capacity to the AAP board of directors. Dr. Fergie has been a member of the AAP for 20 years and has practiced at Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994.