DCH News

Brownsville Specialty Center

Edinburg Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to visitors, ranchers alike

August 11, 2011
EDINBURG - On Saturday, August 13, young 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and the Hidalgo County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 10 a.m. at the Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors and ranchers alike. Members of 4-H and the FFA will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H and FFA students and their efforts, visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at 956-223-0687 or call the Hidalgo County Extension Office at 956-383-1026.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13

  • Where: Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.

  • Information: 956-223-0687 or 956-383-1026

Treasure boxes to be donated for Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley patients

August 09, 2011
WHAT: As a philanthropic project, the Texas state organization of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a sorority of women educators, will deliver over 100 treasure boxes filled with toys to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen. The treasure boxes will be given to patients at all of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics to brighten their spirits during their checkups and treatment.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Santa Claus is coming to Brownsville in July

July 18, 2011
BROWNSVILLE - It's Christmas in July at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville! The Brownsville Driscoll Volunteer Auxiliary will hold its 5th annual Christmas in July event Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The community is invited to stop by and drop off an unwrapped toy to help ensure that all patients who receive treatment this coming holiday season will have a toy to take home. Santa Claus will be there to receive the toys.

"This is always such an amazing event, especially to see the Driscoll volunteers and the Brownsville community come together by donating toys in order to make certain our patients have an extra special Christmas," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation to this worthwhile effort or to show your support, stop by Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville on Thursday or call the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011. Checks may be made out to Driscoll Children's Specialty Center Auxiliary.

  • What: Christmas in July

  • When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 21

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway 77/83

  • Information: (361) 694-5011

Memory of late cousin prompts businessman to donate $150,000 nuclear camera to Driscoll clinic in McAllen

July 12, 2011
McALLEN - A Houston businessman has donated a gamma camera used for diagnosing cancer and other diseases to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen in memory of his late cousin, who was treated for leukemia at Driscoll Children's Hospital in 1977.

"I feel if you're not giving you're not living," said Richard Armijo, president of Advanced Nuclear Consultants LLC, a company that refurbishes gamma cameras and other equipment used to diagnose diseases. "I wanted to do something in memory of my cousin and Driscoll was the first hospital that came to my mind."

The gamma camera will enable pediatric radiologists at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen to perform nuclear medicine procedures such as renal, bone and lung scans. The procedures involve injecting a radioactive substance into the patient's body, capturing the energy it emanates with the camera and viewing the image on a computer screen. Radiologists then interpret the image and assist Driscoll's pediatric surgeons in treating the patient.

Armijo will be formally recognized for his donation during a ceremony at the Medical Plaza at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13. Driscoll officials will present him a plaque in appreciation.

Measuring about 12 by 12 feet, the gamma camera fills a room at the Medical Plaza. It is valued at over $150,000, Armijo said.

"It's a wonderful addition to the services Driscoll offers in the Rio Grande Valley," said Jan Kottke, clinic administrator at Driscoll. "We're very grateful for this generous donation."

Armijo said his late cousin, Astrid Claudia Hewitt, was 13 years old when she passed away from leukemia in Houston in 1984. He carried her memory throughout his life, as well as gratitude for the treatment she received at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Now, with a wife, three daughters, a son on the way and a growing business, it's time to help others like Driscoll helped his cousin, Armijo said.

"I've been blessed with my business and my family and I want to pass those blessings on to the children of South Texas."

  • What: Ceremony recognizing Richard Armijo

  • When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Cortez becomes executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics

July 05, 2011
Laura Cortez
Laura Cortez
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Laura Cortez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as executive director of the hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics. She will oversee operations at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

Cortez brings a wealth of healthcare management experience to Driscoll. She previously served for eight years as director of Women's Health Services for the South Texas Health System.

Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to ranchers, visitors alike

June 27, 2011
RIO GRANDE CITY - On Friday, July 8, young 4-H members and the Starr County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics will begin at 11 a.m. at R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd. in Rio Grande City.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers and visitors alike, such as agricultural products, gardening supplies, arts and crafts, hardware supplies and jewelry. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will be used to support Driscoll's clinics in the Rio Grande Valley, including Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (956) 223-0687 or call the Starr County Extension Office at (956) 487-2306 or (956) 534-4911.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 11 a.m. Friday, July 8

  • Where: R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd., Rio Grande City

  • Information: (956) 487-2306, (956) 534-4911 or (956) 223-0687

Brownsville family's fighting spirit aiding boy battling cancer

June 13, 2011
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ada Escobedo will never forget the date: Dec. 15, 2010. That's when, half in shock, she drove her 8-year-old son, Matthew Carroll, from their home in Brownsville to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi to have a tumor checked out in his left leg. They had just seen an orthopedic specialist in Brownsville who recommended she take him there.

"We drove there the same day," Escobedo said. "At Driscoll they took blood tests, X-rays and did a biopsy. That's when they told us it was a malignant tumor and he needed to start on chemotherapy treatments. It was just really quick. It was a really sad Christmas for us."

For about two weeks before Dec. 15, Matthew and his family thought he had sprained his ankle while playing football at school. He complained about lingering pain after some friends fell on top of him. The first doctor they went to thought it was a normal sports injury that would go away, Escobedo said. Another doctor diagnosed it as a sprain or fracture.

At Driscoll Children's Hospital, it was found that Matthew actually had osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. It is the most common type of bone tumor in children, with 150 to 200 new cases diagnosed per year, said hematologist/oncologist Nkechi Mba, M.D., one of Matthew's physicians at Driscoll.

"We see on average 2 to 3 new patients with osteosarcoma each year at Driscoll," Dr. Mba said.

Despite the diagnosis and her son's chemotherapy treatments, which often made him sick, Escobedo stayed strong for her family.

"I didn't have time to cry," she said. "We just started fighting. It's been like one fight after another against the cancer."

As bad as the news was for Matthew and his family, it got worse. After three months of chemotherapy treatments, the cancer was spreading rapidly up his left leg. The decision was made that he would have to lose the leg. It was amputated from the knee down in March 2011.

"That was really, really hurtful," Escobedo said. "But we knew we had to do it because we had no other way. If he wouldn't have lost his leg he wouldn't be with us."

Depending on the location of the tumor, amputation is one of the surgical options for patients with osteosarcoma, Dr. Mba said.

Escobedo said Matthew is doing better now after the amputation and that his cancer is almost gone. He comes to Driscoll regularly for weeks at a time for chemotherapy treatments. Because it's difficult for Escobedo to take off work frequently, Matthew usually rides a bus with his grandfather from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. His grandfather, José Barrón, stays at the Ronald McDonald House next to Driscoll when he isn't at Matthew's bedside.

"The Ronald McDonald House has been like my home," said Barrón, who considers Matthew a son.

Matthew also receives care at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville. Escobedo takes him there for occasional check-ups, blood work and X-rays. Recently, when he was sick and had a fever, she took him to the clinic and was given antibiotics.

"It makes me feel safer that the clinic is right there," Escobedo said. "I have no words to express the gratitude I have for their care."

During a recent stay at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Matthew said although the chemotherapy makes him nauseous and vomit, he knows he needs it. Sitting on his hospital bed, he talked about what he misses in a shy, whispered voice.

"I miss going to school, playing sports and walking," he said. "I use crutches. They help me but it's not like really walking."

Matthew is normally an "A" honor roll student who loves school, Escobedo said, but because he has missed so much school, he will have to repeat the second grade through home-schooling when his chemotherapy is over. He currently has about nine weeks of chemotherapy treatments to go, Dr. Mba said.

Her son loves sports too, Escobedo said. Looking to the future, she isn't sure how Matthew will adjust to missing out on playing football and other sports with his friends.

"I don't think anybody can adjust to that," she said. "But we have God in our hearts. We're going to let him guide us the right way."

With healthcare reimbursement at risk in state budget, Driscoll team will go to Austin, seek support from legislators

March 01, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - For Driscoll Children's Hospital, certain proposed cuts and changes in the state's budget mean reduced services for the children of South Texas. In response, a contingent of physicians and volunteers from Driscoll will travel to Austin to voice their concerns to legislators about healthcare issues. The group will leave the hospital by bus the morning of March 2 for a one-day trip.

There are two main issues that Driscoll wishes to address. The first is a proposed $20 million cut in Medicaid provider payments. Driscoll Children's Hospital is the second-highest-ranking hospital in the state for percentage of Medicaid patient days. The proposed budget would cut the hospital's inpatient and outpatient reimbursement by 10 percent, or approximately $10 million, and cut Driscoll's Upper Payment Limits reimbursement by approximately $10 million. If this is approved, Driscoll's ability to provide specialty services such as cancer treatment, kidney transplants and heart surgery will be diminished.

The other issue concerns a Medicaid managed care expansion, for which Driscoll is requesting support from legislators. This not-for-profit health plan, proposed by the state's Health and Human Services Commission, will enable the hospital to continue its wide range of services without fear of non-Medicaid payment.

The Driscoll team plans to make their case with simple, straightforward facts. This includes:

Driscoll has saved the lives of thousands of South Texas children. In many cases, Driscoll is their only source for medical help.

  • Medicaid is the lifeblood of medical care for many South Texas children.

  • Driscoll serves one of the poorest populations in the United States.

  • Medicaid presently pays approximately 85 percent of Driscoll's costs to treat Medicaid patients.

  • Driscoll is one of only five free-standing children's hospitals in the State of Texas, providing care from Victoria to Laredo and throughout the Rio Grande Valley.


Since 1953, Driscoll Children's Hospital's not-for-profit mission has been to care for the children of South Texas, regardless of their ability to pay.

Young heart patients to celebrate at the Heart Center at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen

February 09, 2011
WHAT: In observance of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, the Heart Center at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen is hosting a celebration for its heart patients. Physicians will be on hand to visit with the patients, and the event will feature cake, punch, a painting activity and photographs for keepsake magnets. All patients of the Heart Center are being invited. Spanish speaking staff will be available for interviews.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 10, 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Heart Center at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 2nd floor, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

INFO: (361) 549-8724