Patients & Families
Driscoll Health Plan joins community partners to sponsor free Back to School Fair in Laredo
July 31, 2013
LAREDO - Just in time for the coming school year, Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) is sponsoring a free Back to School Fair for the general public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at Uni-Trade Stadium. Numerous organizations have joined to offer services, information and products to parents and children at the event. They include:
DHP - 450 backpacks
Webb County Sheriff's Office - Information on crime prevention, fingerprinting for child identification, temperature display
Texas Department of Transportation - Traffic safety materials, information on child car-seat safety
Serving Children & Adolescents in Need (SCAN) - Information on services provided by SCAN, pens and pencils
Baptist Child and Family Services/Healthy Start Laredo - Information packets on prenatal care
Gateway Community Health Center, Inc. - Body mass index calculations, education on diabetes, hypertension, nutrition and physical activities
H-E-B - H-E-Buddy appearance, fruits
Texas A&M University Colonias Program - Information, coloring books
United Independent School District (UISD) nurses - Information on immunization requirements for UISD
Webb County Head Start - Head Start recruitment information
MCNA Dental - Dental information, dental kits, drawstrings
Dr. Hector Lopez, DDS - Dental information, crayons, glue, etc.
Literacy Volunteers of Laredo - Information, books
Laredo Independent School District (LISD) nurses - Information on immunization requirements for LISD children
Area Health Education Center - Information for parents who want their children to volunteer, pens and pads
South Texas Food Bank - Kids café, information on nutrition and obesity, activities on bullying
Casa de Misericordia - Information on domestic violence, bullying and prevention
Kool Smiles - Information on oral hygiene
Imaginarium of South Texas - Information, children's activities
Kaplan College - 200 glucose screenings and blood pressure checks
The Laredo Lemurs mascot will also be on hand to mingle with families. For more information about DHP, go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247.
What: Driscoll Health Plan Back to School Fair
When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
Where: Uni-Trade Stadium, 6320 Sinatra Pkwy.
Redesign of Driscoll's Emergency Room under way
July 30, 2013
Project will be most significant transformation of ER since 1987
Concrete is removed by heavy equipment near the entrance to Driscoll Children's Hospital in preparation for the renovation and expansion of the Emergency Room.
CORPUS CHRISTI - On July 22, the first phase of construction activities began for the renovation and expansion of the Emergency Room (ER) at Driscoll Children's Hospital. The $12 million project, scheduled to last 16 to 18 months, will increase the size of the ER and lobby by approximately 5,000 square feet. Driscoll's ER services will continue throughout the construction process.
The project will result in a state-of-the-art ER and significantly enhance overall patient care at Driscoll, said Donna Quinn, vice president of Operations and Quality.
"The ER is Driscoll's most visible department and our front door, representing a substantial portion of hospital admissions. Through the renovation we want to create an even more child-friendly and efficient setting that is welcoming, calming and caring."
When the project is completed, the ER will include:
Two trauma rooms
Twenty private exam rooms
Two triage areas with visibility to the waiting area
An expanded central nursing station
An expanded waiting area
A dedicated ER elevator
A new ambulance vestibule and weather protection canopy
An outward extension of the building, allowing for an expanded lobby
In early October, an ambulance entrance will be temporarily established at the back of the hospital near the auditorium and the ambulance entrance at the front of the hospital will be closed for construction.
Driscoll has produced informational brochures about the project that are available to patients, families and visitors.
The project will be the ER's most significant transformation since 1987. That year, Driscoll became the first hospital in South Texas to offer emergency services specifically for children, and the ER currently serves about 35,000 children each year.
Teen cancer patients depart tomorrow for annual summer camp
July 09, 2013
WHAT: About 40 cancer patients ages 12-18 who are being treated at Driscoll Children's Hospital will depart tomorrow for the annual Camp TLC (Teens Living with Cancer) at Camp Aranzazu in Rockport. Campers will enjoy activities that build relationships, friendships and trust. Favorite activities include the zip-line, capture the flag, swimming, arts and crafts, archery and Frisbee golf.
WHEN: Departure at 12:30 p.m. July 10; camp is from July 10-14
WHERE: Departure: Driscoll Children's Hospital Day Surgery & Rehabilitation Building, 3533 S. Alameda St.; Camp Aranzazu: 5420 Loop 1781, Rockport
Ambient lighting system helps patients relax during X-rays
July 08, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - An ambient lighting system that was recently installed in the Radiology Department at Driscoll Children's Hospital enables patients undergoing X-rays to choose the color of the room, helping to ease their anxiety during the procedure.
A new ambient lighting system in Driscoll's Radiology Department helps patients feel calmer during X-rays.
"Any time you give children control, they become calmer," said Ernest Chavez, Driscoll director of Radiology Services. "They like it when you ask them if they want to change the color of the room. Parents like to change it sometimes too."
On a wall-mounted keypad, parents, patients or staff can set the light to one color - usually the patient's favorite - or to alternating colors. The room is serene and mesmerizing as it's bathed in red, yellow, blue, green, orange and violet light.
Driscoll's Radiology Department plans to incorporate ambient lighting into its other four X-ray rooms as the units are replaced, Chavez said, and the computed tomography and nuclear medicine rooms will also be outfitted soon. In addition, ambient lighting will be installed in all three ultrasound rooms during future remodeling. The lighting system is funded by proceeds from Driscoll's Fiesta de los Niños fundraiser, held annually in February.
'Tis the season for Christmas in July at Driscoll's Brownsville clinic
July 05, 2013
Community invited to drop off unwrapped toys July 18
BROWNSVILLE - Santa Claus will join the Volunteer Auxiliary at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville July 18 for the seventh annual Christmas in July toy drive. The community is invited to stop by and drop off unwrapped toys to be given to patients who receive treatment this coming holiday season. Santa will be there to receive the toys, and refreshments will be offered.
The community has responded so generously over the past six years that the toy drive has become a bona fide tradition in Brownsville.
"It really is amazing to see so many people come out and donate toys every year to help make sure our patients have a special Christmas," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "The sense of caring and community pride is extraordinary."
To donate to the Christmas in July event, stop by Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville on July 18 or call Driscoll's Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011. Checks may be made out to Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Auxiliary.
What: Christmas in July toy drive
When: 6 - 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18
Where: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway
Driscoll Health Plan among sponsors of free baseball clinic in Brownsville
July 02, 2013
WHAT: Driscoll Health Plan is joining the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, the City of Brownsville Parks & Recreation Department and Healthy Communities of Brownsville to sponsor a free summer baseball clinic for children ages 5 through high school. The clinic will feature baseball instruction in all areas of offense, defense, pitching and catching. Each player should bring a glove, baseball equipment (if possible) and comfortable practice clothes. Sunscreen and caps are highly recommended. The first 300 registered players will receive a goody bag and a chance to win WhiteWings game tickets for a family of four. Hot dogs and refreshments will be offered to players at the conclusion of the camp. Registration forms can be obtained at the City of Brownsville Parks & Recreation Department, 1338 E. 8th St., or by calling Shannon Guerrero at (956) 547-6861.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 27
WHERE: Morningside Park, 1207 S. Central Ave., Brownsville
Driscoll Health Plan presents 'At the Ballpark' for members
June 21, 2013
EDINBURG - Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) is sponsoring "At the Ballpark," a series of member appreciation nights, during the Edinburg Roadrunners games June 25, July 11 and Aug. 2 at Roadrunner Field. Perks for members include:
First pitch honors
"Our members are important to us and a night 'At the Ballpark' is our way of saying thanks for their continued support," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, chief executive officer of DHP.
Members need only to show their DHP identification card at the ticket booth to receive up to six tickets for $10. The first 20 members in line by 6 p.m. on game days will be able to watch from the VIP suite. Finally, one lucky member will be chosen to throw out the first pitch at each of the three games.
For more information about DHP, go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247.
What: "At the Ballpark" for Driscoll Health Plan members
When: 7:05 p.m. June 25, July 11 and Aug. 2
Where: Roadrunner Field, 920 N. Sugar Road, Edinburg
Outdoor activities, games and camaraderie in store for asthmatic children at Camp Easy Breathers
June 14, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - Asthmatic children will partake in some swashbuckling next week as the 12th annual Camp Easy Breathers gets underway in Rockport. Sponsored by Driscoll Children's Hospital, the Coastal Bend Community Foundation and the Coastal Bend Asthma Initiative, it will be from June 17-21 at Camp Aranzazu.
"A pirate theme is being incorporated into some of the group activities this year like 'Sail Away!,' an activity in which the campers build their own boat and sail it," said Shelly Bigelow, camp director and respiratory therapist at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "It's about team building and helping the kids get to know each other better."
While there is no cure for asthma, Camp Easy Breathers emphasizes to children with the disease that they can live a healthy, active life. The physical and social activities they'll experience will be fun and also increase their understanding of asthma, Bigelow said.
The camp utilizes interactive teaching methods such as open dialogue, various media, activities and game-play. All will reinforce key lessons to the children such as:
- Understanding asthma and how it affects them;
- Recognizing and avoiding asthma attack triggers;
- Recognizing warning signs to improve asthma management;
- Knowing how and when to take medicine;
- Staying healthy and staying in school.
Activities at the camp will include swimming, archery, arts and crafts, outdoor games, sports and an awards show.
"Camp Easy Breathers is a great opportunity for children to make new friends, become more independent and take on real challenges in a safe environment," Bigelow said.
Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways in the lungs become swollen, clogged and overly sensitive to changes in the environment. During an attack, the muscles that surround the airways tighten and the inner lining of the airways swells and pushes inward. Asthma kills about 5,000 Americans each year and costs the United States more than $10 billion a year in direct and indirect medical expenses. Timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, partnership with a healthcare professional and reduction of exposure to environmental factors are some of the things that help children living with asthma.
- What: 12th annual Camp Easy Breathers for asthmatic children ages 7-14
- When: June 17-21
- Where: Camp Aranzazu, 5420 Loop 1781, Rockport
Leukemia survivor finds fun, friends, normality at summer camp
June 12, 2013
Driscoll Children's Hospital organizes annual trip to Camp Star Trails for cancer patients
Elizabeth Ochoa, a leukemia survivor, prepares for archery at Camp Star Trails in 2011.
CORPUS CHRISTI - To say that Elizabeth Ochoa is excited about going to summer camp next week is an understatement. On June 16, the 9-year-old will depart with other cancer patients from Driscoll Children's Hospital for her fifth trip to Camp Star Trails in Burton.
"I like swimming, meeting new friends and art," Elizabeth said with wide-eyed enthusiasm. "We get to go canoeing and fishing. The best part of it is the hot tub. I like the food too."
Camp Star Trails is hosted at Camp for All, a camp for children and adults with chronic illnesses or disabilities and their families. Driscoll Children's Hospital organizes the yearly trip for cancer patients ages 5-12 and their siblings, and funding comes from the annual Six Points Kiwanis Club Apple Sale.
Elizabeth was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 2, said her mother, Marilou Ochoa. She had become fatigued, her legs were bruised and she couldn't walk or play. After consulting with her pediatrician, Elizabeth's family took her to Driscoll Children's Hospital, where she began chemotherapy treatment.
"At first we had a feeling of panic because we didn't know what to expect," Ochoa said. "But the oncologists at Driscoll were great. They explained everything to us and lifted our spirits."
Elizabeth lost her hair completely three times due to chemotherapy treatment, her mother said. Now in her third year of being cancer-free, she has a full head of hair and a constant smile.
Cancer treatment and hospitalization can significantly curtail regular childhood activities, said hematologist/oncologist Cris Johnson, MD, medical director of Driscoll's Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. Summer camp allows kids to catch up on those experiences.
"At camp, you're a camper, not a patient," Dr. Johnson said. "It gives these children the opportunity to be kids and to focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities. They're supported by other children who understand what they're going through. They form lasting friendships and look forward to seeing each other every year."
Besides making new friends at Camp Star Trails next week, Elizabeth said she's looking forward to seeing a friend she made at Driscoll who was also being treated for cancer.
Elizabeth's older sisters have gone to camp with her twice, Ochoa said. Like Elizabeth, they enjoyed making new friends and interacting with young people who could relate to them. Sibling inclusion is important when a family is focusing on a child with cancer, Dr. Johnson said.
"When their brother or sister is in clinic for treatment, they're often in school and don't have the chance to meet the siblings of other cancer patients. Camp allows them to form a peer group with this shared experience."
Although Ochoa misses Elizabeth when she's at camp, she said the annual week away from home has helped her daughter become more independent because she has to remember to brush her hair and teeth and take a bath every day.
Brushing and bathing aren't at the top of Elizabeth's mind as camp approaches, however.
"At the end of the week, we have a campfire and we make a list of what we wish for," she said. "We hold hands in a circle, they say our name and we throw our wishes into the fire. Then we pop fireworks.
"When we get home, I feel like I want to go back again because I miss everybody."
What: Driscoll cancer patients depart for Camp Star Trails
When: 9 a.m. arrival, 10 a.m. departure Sunday, June 16
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital Day Surgery & Rehabilitation Building, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Health Plan presents Kids' Day at Harlingen Field
June 07, 2013
HARLINGEN - Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) is sponsoring Kids' Day for member families during Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings games on June 10, June 25, July 21 and Aug. 13 at Harlingen Field. Perks for families include:
Free admission for children 17 and under
Private meet & greet with the team before the games
First pitch honors
"Our members are important to us and Kids' Day is our way of saying thanks for their continued support," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, chief executive officer of DHP.
Members need only to show their DHP identification card at the ticket booth to receive up to six tickets for $10. The first 20 members who arrive 1 ˝ hours before game-time will get to meet the team. Finally, one lucky member will be chosen to throw out the first pitch at each of the four games.
For more information about DHP, go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247.
What: Kids' Day for Driscoll Health Plan member families
When: 7:05 p.m. June 10, June 25, July 21 and Aug. 13
Where: Harlingen Field, 1216 Fair Park Blvd.