DCH News

Press Releases

Matt Young, (361) 548-6073

Driscoll residents read to children as part of Residents Advocacy Week

March 18, 2015
As part of Residents Advocacy Week, residents at Driscoll Children's Hospital read to children at the hospital's Children's Learning Center. The theme for the week is "Open a book, open a mind," with an emphasis on improving child literacy. In addition to reading to children, the residents also have started a book drive throughout the hospital.

"At Driscoll, we all are active in the community, and our residents are the same way," Driscoll Children's Hospital's Associate Residency Program Director Eric Baggerman, MD, said.

Being an advocate for the children of South Texas has long been a part of Driscoll Children's Hospital's residency program, and Residents Advocacy Week puts a focus on those activities.

"Residency Advocacy Week is something our residents wanted to be a part of to put an emphasis on helping out in the community," Dr. Baggerman said. "Driscoll Children's Hospital always strives to help improve the lives of South Texans, and our residents are part of that, also."

Driscoll patients treated to Child Life Month celebration

March 10, 2015
The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital celebrated Child Life Month with a rock and roll-themed party for in-house patients on March 3rd. The seventh annual event is designed to make hospitalization a little more pleasant for children by providing a distraction from their illness and an opportunity for socialization, self-expression and normalization.

"Child Life professionals strive to promote coping and reduce anxiety of children and their families. They embrace the power of play to teach children about their diagnosis, prepare for and support during painful procedures," said Michelle Goodman, director of the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll.

Driscoll Children's hospital began a Child Life program in 1985. Today, Driscoll has nine Child Life  Specialists who provide service to the Emergency Room, in-patient units 4T, 6T and 7T, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Renal Dialysis, Driscoll's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Day Surgery and Radiology.

Activities at the celebration will include walking down a red carpet, face painting, decorating cardboard guitars and a photo booth.  Employees from Stripes convenience stores will provide a carnival-style prize wheel and store coupons.

Driscoll Children's Hospital adds eight AEDs to non-clinical areas

February 12, 2015
Driscoll Children's Hospital purchased eight Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), which will be placed in non-clinical areas of the hospital courtesy of a generous donation from the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital.

The $15,800 donation will help make every hospital visitor - including friends and families of patients - safer. An AED is a portable electronic device designed to be used in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias which lead to cardiac arrest and can be treated with an AED through defibrillation, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed for use by the layperson and can save the life of someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

"The minutes after the onset of a cardiac emergency are called the 'Golden Minutes,' and every minute is crucial in those situations," Pediatric Intensivist Kevin Schooler, MD, said. "Having easily accessible AEDs throughout the hospital will ensure the quickest possible care is available for our visitors."

The AEDs will be placed in non-clinical areas of the hospital, including the hospital cafeteria. There also will be an AED on a security cart, which could quickly be deployed to the parking lot, if necessary. The locations were strategically chosen to be the most beneficial to the hospital's visitors.

"We focus on taking care of the children of South Texas, and we also want to make sure we're there for the families," Dr. Schooler said. "Having AEDs readily available throughout the hospital ensures that we also can be there for our adult visitors should a cardiac emergency arise. This is another example of us truly being a friend of the family."

Annual Fiesta de los Niños is a celebration for those who help make miracles happen

January 13, 2015
Fiesta de los Niños, which began as a small, grassroots effort 23 years ago, has evolved into a high-profile event that many South Texans return to every year. On Feb. 6, Driscoll Children's Hospital's 23rd annual Fiesta de los Niños will bring its signature combination of fun, food and music to the American Bank Center. The event's mission remains the same since its origin - to help Driscoll offer more and enhanced services to children in the community. "Thanks to the generosity of our title sponsor, Flint Hills Resources, and the many other community partners, Driscoll Children's Hospital is able to continue to enhance and broaden its services for the children of South Texas," Driscoll Children's Hospital's Vice President of Development Martha Avery said. Fiesta de los Niños is Driscoll's largest annual fundraiser with 100 percent of the funds raised from the event directly benefitting the hospital. Through the community's annual support of Fiesta, Driscoll has been able to develop and enhance its services and programs in order to better serve the children of South Texas. In 2014, with more than 1,500 people in attendance, Fiesta raised $700,000, which helped purchase the latest, state-of-the-art 3D technology for Driscoll's Catheterization Laboratory to perform the most delicate procedures on infants and children. Proceeds from this year's event will go toward several key specialty areas throughout the hospital, including upgrades to the surgical suites, additional ambient lighting for a new MRI suite and a new pediatric transport ambulance. Guests at Fiesta de los Niños will enjoy silent, live and bid-board auctions, a barbecue dinner and entertainment by country music group Restless Heart, which has had six No. 1 singles on the Billboard country charts. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, silent and bid-board auctions. For information or table sponsorship, call Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6405 or visit www.driscollchildrens.org/giving.

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's 23rd annual Fiesta de los Niños

When: 6:30 - 11:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6

Where: American Bank Center Exhibit Hall, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd.

Information: (361) 694-6405

Event schedule:

6:30 p.m. - Doors open, reception, silent and bid-board auctions open

7 p.m. - Western barbecue dinner served

8:30 p.m. - Live auction begins, silent auction closes (bid-board remains open until 10 p.m.)

9:30 p.m. - Featured entertainer, Restless Heart

Driscoll Health Plan earns national award

November 24, 2014
The Driscoll Health Plan was given an award at the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) Quality Meeting on Nov. 12 in Chicago. The Driscoll Health Plan was honored for its Medicaid Healthplan earning the best Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) scores in ACAP, which is an organization with about 40 Medicaid plans distributed across the country. CAHPS scores are based on consumers' answers to a survey evaluating their experiences with healthcare.

Injury Prevention Program honored by Westside Business Association

November 11, 2014
Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program was presented with the Advocate of the Year award at the Westside Business Association's Community Leader Awards Banquet.

For the past three years, the hospital's Injury Prevention Program has donated children's bicycle helmets to the annual Navidad de los Ninos celebration in Corpus Christi. Navidad de los Ninos, which benefits more than 1,200 disadvantaged children and families annually, gives out the helmets to local children as Christmas gifts, as well as other toys donated by the community.

"It's an honor to be recognized by the community, but an even bigger honor to help the children of South Texas, which is the mission of Driscoll Children's Hospital," Injury Prevention Specialist Tiffany Collie said.

Radiology Department earns ACR Accreditation

November 05, 2014

Driscoll Children's Hospital's Radiology Department has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes magnetic fields to produce anatomical images of internal body parts to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.

The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

Once-fragile preemies and their families reconnect with Driscoll staff at NICU Reunion

October 13, 2014

Infants in Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) usually are there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend months in the hospital, so it's no surprise that strong bonds often form with NICU physicians, nurses and other caregivers. Because of those relationships, Driscoll Children's Hospital has the NICU Reunion each fall to give everyone a chance to reconnect and celebrate the lives of the babies who have grown into children and adults.

"The NICU Reunion is a great opportunity for our patients, families and staff to keep in touch with each other," said Patricia Carr, Driscoll's assistant vice president of Patient Care Services. "It is a real joy to watch the growth and development of our children as they progress each year. Some of our patients who are now adults bring their own children to share in the event."

At the fall festival-themed celebration, Driscoll staff members who have cared for NICU patients over the years caught up with more than 150 families, who were eager to share stories of their children's progress since their stay at Driscoll. NICU "graduates" enjoyed food, games, prizes and other goodies at the event.

Driscoll Children's Hospital's level III NICU cares for newborns and infants for a variety of reasons, including prematurity (carried less than 37 weeks), respiratory distress, infections, birth defects and other illnesses. Staffed by neonatologists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the 52-bed NICU cares for premature and critically ill infants from 31 South Texas counties.

Hospital's patients to have signing for Christmas book they created

October 13, 2014
Allison Shaffer is a burgeoning young writer, but she already knows the key to being a great author - create stories that come from personal experience. That's what the 17-year-old former Driscoll Children's Hospital patient did when she wrote "Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," a Christmas book written by Shaffer and illustrated by 10 different Driscoll patients.

Shaffer and the young illustrators will have a book signing at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 at Driscoll Children's Hospital. The book is on sale for $5 at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop and through Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org) with proceeds going to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Allison is a second-born twin, who weighed just two pounds at birth and spent the first 63 days of her life in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit. At four years old, Allison was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, which mainly affects her left leg. She had surgeries at ages 4 and 13 to help her walk more normally.

"After the surgeries, she had to learn to walk again, basically," said Wendy Shaffer, Allison's mother. "She's been a trooper through it all."

"Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," is a story with which Allison can relate. In the book, Allison writes of an abnormally small Christmas tree that none of the children want to play around. Eventually the tree adapts and uses its strengths to become just as popular as the other Christmas trees.

"I came up with the story when I was a kid," Allison said. "I really was kind of a loner in a way, so I drew back on personal experience as a child. I thought back to when I was a kindergartner and I went from there. Once I got into writing mode, it really just took me one night to write it. The story just came easily to me."

Like the story's Tiny, Allison has conquered the mental aspect of her disease.

"I'm very blessed to have mild cerebral palsy," said Allison, whose family moved away from Corpus Christi when she was four and is currently a junior at College Station's A&M Consolidated High School. "I have to work a little harder than other kids. I have to do stretches and things like that to keep my legs relaxed and flexible so I'm able to walk more normally, but it all has strengthened my pride and made me tougher. I don't look at this as being a curse at all. I wouldn't change anything. It's all been a blessing."

Allison is a confident young lady, who already is working on writing a novel. However, she admits to being nervous about being the center of attention at her first book signing.

"I'm very nervous, but very excited that I get to do that," Allison said. "It means a lot to be able to do something like this for Driscoll Children's Hospital, which has helped me so much since I was a baby.

Brooke Hester, 7, Corpus Christi
Jonah Vargas, 5, Corpus Christi
Claribel Garcia, 6, Corpus Christi
Maden Rivera, 3, Corpus Christi
Kendra Amy, 3, Corpus Christi
Vivian Wrinkle, 6, Corpus Christi
Joshua Miller, 4, Robstown
Gianna Veliz, 6, Odem
Enrique Garcia, 12, Corpus Christi
Sean Hoover, 12, Austin

Driscoll Health Plan educates expectant mothers through baby showers

August 22, 2014
The Driscoll Health Plan hosts baby showers for more than 6,000 South Texas women each year, but these baby showers are more educational than your traditional family gathering. The Cadena de Madres Program - also known as Network of Mothers - provides monthly prenatal educational baby showers for expectant mothers in the Nueces and Hidalgo service areas.

The Coastal Bend March of Dimes Program Services Committee recently awarded Driscoll Health Plan a Community Awards program grant for $2,584.74 to purchase materials for the Cadena de Madres program's baby showers. The materials purchased with these funds will introduce and explain maternal child health topics such as infant brain development, staying healthy before and during pregnancy and what to expect after having a baby.

The baby showers are presented in three sessions and cover the following topics:
Learning how to make healthy choices during their pregnancy and recognizing the negative impact of smoking, alcohol and drugs on their health and their developing baby.
Understanding the advantages of prenatal care and understanding the complications that may occur during their pregnancy.
Learning to recognize signs of preterm labor, early labor signs and understand when medical intervention is needed.

"This is a wonderful community program that empowers pregnant women and their families to have healthier babies," Driscoll Health Plan CEO and President Mary Dale Peterson, MD said. "Since the inception, this program has reduced preterm birth rates by 34 percent. This is our goal - creating healthy communities."

The program was created to decrease the percentage of premature births. It aims to change behaviors through education provided during prenatal baby showers.

The program, which started in 2006, is for all pregnant women who reside in the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio, Starr, Victoria, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.