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Once-fragile preemies, their families will reunite with caregivers

October 19, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Infants who are brought to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are usually there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend several months in the hospital, day in and day out, so it's no surprise that strong bonds often form between them and the NICU physicians, nurses and other caregivers.

Because of the relationships that develop between patients and caregivers, Driscoll Children's Hospital holds 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.

"It's exciting for our staff to keep in contact with the patients they cared for," said Patricia Carr, Driscoll assistant vice president of Patient Care Services. "It's a wonderful thing watching our patients grow into children and adults. The event is truly like a big family reunion."

At the fall festival-themed celebration, Driscoll staff members who have cared for NICU patients over the years will be on hand to meet with the more than 150 families who are eager to share stories of their children's progress since their stay at Driscoll - some of whom are now adults. In addition to dressing up in their Halloween costumes, NICU "graduates" will enjoy 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 47-bed NICU cares for premature and critically ill infants from 31 South Texas counties.

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual NICU Reunion
When: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services parking lot, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Fallwell is Driscoll's new director of Infection Prevention

October 18, 2012
Fallwell
Fallwell
CORPUS CHRISTI - Nancy Fallwell, RN, has been promoted to director of Infection Prevention & Control at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Fallwell was formerly the interim director of Infection Prevention & Control and, prior to that, was a nursing house supervisor at Driscoll. She has served in various nursing roles at Corpus Christi-area hospitals, the first as a nurse technician at Driscoll in 1989. Fallwell holds a master's degree in nursing and healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Driscoll Health Plan in focus: An incentive program for new moms

October 12, 2012
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Motherhood is a big job, and helping mothers and their babies stay healthy in South Texas is a big focus of Driscoll Health Plan (DHP). For example, DHP encourages moms to stay on track with Texas Health Steps - a roadmap to healthy living for mothers and newborns - by offering incentives such as gift cards for diapers* when they complete each of their postpartum checkups and at least four of the newborn checkups.

Under the Texas Health Steps incentive program, mothers are encouraged to visit their obstetrician after giving birth to ensure their recovery from delivery is proceeding well. These visits allow them to get additional information on breastfeeding and birth spacing.

"Similarly, we hope that the infant will get all the recommended checkups from his or her pediatrician or family physician," said Ernest Buck, MD, medical director of DHP.

Infants' checkups are typically scheduled at 5 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months old, Dr. Buck said. The visits are spaced to ensure the babies' growth and development is proceeding normally. They'll get the recommended vaccines, and parents will have the chance to learn parenting skills.

As mothers complete each infant checkup, they can receive a gift card for diapers. In addition, DHP offers a $20 gift card to moms* who continue to get all checkups after the baby's first year, which are scheduled at 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and annually from age 3 to 20 years.

"We want to encourage the family to get the very best in medical care and reward them for doing just that," Dr. Buck said.

DHP has more than 51,600 members in the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata. It is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored plan in the Hidalgo SDA. For more information about DHP, families can go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247. This is the second in a series of four press releases about DHP's value-added services.

* This is not an all-inclusive list of value-added services. Restrictions and/or limitations apply.

Huynh brings sports medicine expertise to Driscoll

September 26, 2012
Huynh
Huynh
CORPUS CHRISTI - Phuong Huynh, MD, has joined Children's Physician Services of South Texas at Driscoll Children's Hospital as a sports medicine physician. Dr. Huynh recently completed a primary care sports medicine fellowship at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She has had extensive training in the assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries.

Dr. Huynh will diagnose and treat musculoskeletal sports injuries and offer advice on injury prevention to athletes, coaches, trainers and sports teams. She will work closely with Driscoll's physical therapists and athletic trainer to develop rehabilitation plans and exercise regimes that are specific to each patient and their injury.

Almond named president-elect of Transplantation Society

September 21, 2012
Almond
Almond
CORPUS CHRISTI - Stephen Almond, MD, chief of Pediatric Surgery, Urology and Transplantation at Driscoll Children's Hospital, was recently named president-elect of the Texas Transplantation Society (TTS) at their annual meeting in Galveston. The TTS is a professional association founded in 1987 to facilitate transplantation within the state of Texas. Their mission is to advance transplantation and organ donation through education and advocacy with a unified and authoritative voice.

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.

Research by Driscoll residents & physicians gains national, international recognition

June 22, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - An abstract written by Driscoll Children's Hospital resident Sanjeet Panda, MD and co-authored by Driscoll physicians Stephen Almond, MD, Mohammad Emran, MD, Haroon Patel, MD, Juan Prieto, MD and Leon Smith-Harrison, MD has been accepted for presentation at the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans Oct. 20-23 and the XVII Ibero-American Society for Pediatric Urology Meeting Sept. 4-8 in Cartagena, Colombia. Research for Dr. Panda's abstract, titled "Surgical Management for the Palpable Undescended Testicle: Scrotal or Inguinal Approach?," was conducted at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Dr. Panda, Driscoll resident Grace Lucas, MD and Dr. Prieto also collaborated on two abstracts, "Scrotal Approach for Definitive Management of Cryptorchidism and Communicating Hydrocele in Children" and "Effects of Urethroplasty Suturing Technique in Primary Tubularized Incised Plate (TIP) Hypospadias Repair," both of which have been accepted for presentation at the 91st annual meeting of the South Central Section- American Urological Association Oct. 24-27 in Colorado Springs, Colo., as well as the XVII Ibero-American Society for Pediatric Urology Meeting in Cartagena.

In addition, Driscoll resident Karen Tuano, MD was named the first place winner in the 2012 Texas Pediatric Society Fellow and Resident Poster Contest for her poster in the Evidence Based Medicine/Quality of Improvement category, titled "Preliminary Study on Control of Asthma in Children 6-11 Years Old Who Visit the Emergency Department at Driscoll Children's Hospital." Residents Monika Bhagat, MD, Mavie Narcise, MD and Shuya Wu, MD were contributors to the project. Also, resident Devasena Iyer, MD received second place for her poster in the same category, titled "WAT-1 vs. SOS: Determination of Iatrogenic Withdrawal in the ICU, a Pilot Study." Driscoll physician Kevin Schooler, MD, PhD served as Dr. Iyer's advisor.

Driscoll cancer patients return Saturday after a week of camping fun

June 22, 2012
WHAT: Cancer patients from Driscoll Children's Hospital will be returning with a week's worth of stories about their experiences at Camp For All in Burton. Rock climbing, swimming, archery, cooking, fishing and kayaking are some of the activities the campers enjoyed during their stay.

WHEN: 1:30-2 p.m. Saturday, June 23

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital Day Surgery & Rehabilitation Building, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Wang joins Driscoll Children's Hospital as neurologist

June 21, 2012
Wang
Wang
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ching Wang, MD, PhD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a neurologist. He was formerly the director of the Neuromuscular Clinic at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center in California and an associate professor of neurology and pediatrics at Stanford.

Dr. Wang earned his doctorate in neuroscience at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and his medical degree at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. He performed his residency in pediatrics at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Wang completed a fellowship in pediatric neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, followed by post-doctoral research at the Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics, Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University in New York City.

Dr. Wang is certified in neurology with special competence in child neurology by the American Board of Pediatrics, and he is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, American Society of Human Genetics and the Autism Society of America.

Driscoll volunteer chosen from 1,500 for statewide award

June 13, 2012
Richard 'Dick' Hinman has brought smiles to children for 18 years

CORPUS CHRISTI - When it comes to receiving awards for exceptional service as a volunteer, Richard "Dick" Hinman thinks there's one person who doesn't deserve one: himself. Despite his belief, Hinman, a volunteer at Driscoll Children's Hospital, has been chosen from about 1,500 nominees as the first statewide recipient of the Home Instead Senior Care's Salute to Senior Service Award. The award will be presented to him at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Driscoll's cardiology conference room.

"I'm flattered, but we have an awful lot of volunteers here who are more deserving than I am," said Hinman, 81, who has been a member of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994.

Hinman was first chosen as the winner of Home Instead's local award and just recently learned that he is the statewide winner. The organization's Salute to Senior Service Award program is designed to recognize retired senior volunteers who make a difference every day in their communities.

"These unsung heroes are making a bigger impact than ever as local budgets evaporate and community needs escalate," said Dr. M. Retta Martin of Home Instead Senior Care in Corpus Christi, who helped select Hinman for the award. "Dick's longevity as a volunteer made him stand out, as did the fact that he almost does it full time. We know that without volunteers, many organizations couldn't do what they do."

Hinman said with a laugh that he may cut back his volunteer hours to 25 or 30 hours a week. In total, he has given more than 29,000 hours of volunteer service at Driscoll - equaling more than 1,600 hours a year.

But the retired petrochemical worker and engineering specialist is having too much fun. He maintains an infectious smile at Driscoll Children's Hospital and is known for cheering up patients with stories, antics and magic tricks.

"I've been told I'm in my second childhood," Hinman said. "But I don't think I ever left my first childhood. I'm just a big kid."

While the services of all of Driscoll's volunteers are equally appreciated and valued, Hinman's rapport with children is something special, said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services.

"Dick is deserving of the Salute to Senior Service Award for so many reasons. He makes the hospital experience pleasant and sometimes even fun for the children he encounters. At the same time, he genuinely cares about the patients and respects them and their families."

With characteristic humility, Hinman said the smile of a child is the only reward he needs for his 18 years of service at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"When a parent says to me, 'That's the first time my son or daughter has smiled in a long time,' that's a pretty big paycheck."

What: Home Instead Senior Care's Salute to Senior Service Award presentation for Richard "Dick" Hinman
When: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, cardiology conference room, 2nd floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.