DCH News

Healthcare Professionals

Butchko brings pediatric cardiology expertise to McAllen

October 24, 2013
McALLEN - Gary Butchko, MD, FAAP, FACC, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric cardiologist at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen. Dr. Butchko was previously director of Echocardiography with Mercy Congenital Heart Disease Specialists at Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. He received his medical degree in 1996 from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and performed his pediatric residency at Dayton Children's Hospital and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Butchko completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship in 2002 at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric cardiology.

Driscoll resident receives Maternal and Child Health Scholarship

October 22, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - Oluwarotimi "Timi" Adepoju, MD, a second-year resident physician at Driscoll Children's Hospital, is one of 23 residents chosen to receive the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2013 Maternal and Child Health Scholarship. The $500 scholarship enables Dr. Adepoju to attend the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition Oct. 26-29, 2013, in Orlando, where he will attend medical education sessions on maternal and child health issues.

Driscoll opens Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic in Laredo

October 22, 2013
At the open house Oct. 16 were (left to right): Miguel De Leon, MD, medical director, Driscoll Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Ryan Loftin, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Jorge P. Orezzoli, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; Anna Gonzalez, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Celso Rodriguez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; John Visintine, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas; Jatin Patel, DO, Driscoll pediatric cardiologist; and  Omar Perez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist.
At the open house Oct. 16 were (left to right): Miguel De Leon, MD, medical director, Driscoll Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Ryan Loftin, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Jorge P. Orezzoli, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; Anna Gonzalez, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Celso Rodriguez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist; John Visintine, MD, Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas; Jatin Patel, DO, Driscoll pediatric cardiologist; and Omar Perez, MD, Laredo obstetrician/gynecologist.
LAREDO - On Oct. 16, Driscoll Children's Hospital hosted an open house at their new Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic at 6423 McPherson Rd., Suite 13. Driscoll physicians, including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, a pediatric cardiologist and neonatologist, were joined by local physicians, as well as Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas, to celebrate the new clinic. Driscoll's maternal-fetal medicine program is excited about this endeavor and look forward to collaborating with local obstetricians in providing the highest level of care to women in the Laredo area. The clinic can be reached at (956) 764-7000.

Driscoll Children's Hospital earns 2013 Path to Excellence award for its commitment to improving the patient experience

October 07, 2013
Mauricio Flores, MD, endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital, and Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations, accept the 2013 Path to Excellence award Sept. 22 in Baltimore.
Mauricio Flores, MD, endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital, and Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations, accept the 2013 Path to Excellence award Sept. 22 in Baltimore.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital has been selected by National Research Corporation as a recipient of the 2013 Path to Excellence award. Driscoll was recognized at the 19th Annual International Patient-Centered Care Symposium in Baltimore on Sept. 22.

National Research selected Path to Excellence award recipients based on their achievement within categories that patients have identified as being most important to the quality of their care. The award is only bestowed upon those organizations that are ranked by patients as being a top performer in one of the following categories: Rate Hospital, Specialty Hospital: Rank Hospital, Children's Hospital: Overall Rating, Adult: Would Recommend Doctor's Office, Pediatric: Would Recommend Doctor's Office, Catalyst Improvement Planner Champion and Most Improved Client.

The winners were selected from the extensive database of National Research hospital customers for their performance over the last four quarters. Driscoll was a top-ranked children's hospital in the Most Improved: Rate Hospital category.

"National Research congratulates Driscoll Children's Hospital for their outstanding achievements," said Susan Henricks, president and chief operating officer of National Research. "We understand that driving improvement changes across an organization takes an incredible amount of resources and dedication - and Driscoll has done exactly that. They are committed to providing the best healthcare possible for their patients and families."

As a 2013 award recipient, Driscoll is among a select group of healthcare innovators leading the way on the path to patient-centered care.

"By partnering with National Research and utilizing its measurement and quality improvement solutions, we have been able to implement changes and make the necessary adjustments to improve the patient and family care," said Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations. "This improvement also gives patients and families the trust and confidence they deserve when seeking the right healthcare provider."

Driscoll nurse cares for babies where she was once a tiny patient

October 07, 2013
Christianna "Chris" Donald, 25, cares for an infant in Driscoll Children's Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, where she was treated as a newborn.
Chris Donald's story is third in Driscoll Children's Hospital's 60th anniversary series

CORPUS CHRISTI - In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Driscoll Children's Hospital, tiny babies sleep tranquilly in incubators amid the occasional whispers of nurses and the faint beeps and hums of medical equipment. Infants from all over South Texas are brought here to be treated for disease, injury, complications due to premature birth and numerous other maladies.

With gloved hands, registered nurse Christianna "Chris" Donald gently adjusts a tube connected to a boy less than a month old from the Rio Grande Valley. He was born with congenital heart defects, and Donald has a special bond with him. As a newborn nearly 26 years ago, she was a patient in this same unit for the same reason.

"He's going to have the exact same surgeries I had," she said.

Donald was admitted to Driscoll's NICU within 24 hours of being born, she said. One of her lungs kept collapsing and tubes called catheters had to be inserted into her chest. Her heart was missing two heart valves and a one ventricle - conditions that required surgery. (Ventricles are chambers on each side of the heart that receive blood and force it into the arteries.) Donald underwent three open heart surgeries by age 4; two were performed at Driscoll and one in Minnesota.

Although she recovered successfully, Donald's condition meant she would need medical attention for the rest of her life. She was 12 years old the last time she was a patient at Driscoll, she said, and she remains under the care of a cardiologist.

Her surgeries at such a young age naturally worried Donald's parents. Her mother became close to her doctors and nurses at Driscoll and remembers their names to this day. So it didn't surprise Donald when her mother gave her a list of nurses to look for when she started working at Driscoll in August 2012.

"My family liked Driscoll's nurses the best," she said. "They were the most genuine."

One of the people who treated Donald at Driscoll 25 years ago, cardiologist Billy Rios, MD, continues to be a positive influence in her life. Dr. Rios, who still practices at Driscoll, was her cardiologist until just a few months ago.

"First I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist because I wanted to be just like him," Donald said. "I send him Christmas cards every year."

Many letters, photos and cards from current and former patients are displayed along a wall in Dr. Rios' office. He pointed out several mementos from Donald that range from when she was a baby to when she graduated from college.

"I treat all my patients as if they were my own," Dr. Rios said. "I'm very proud of Chris and all she's accomplished. She never gave up. I've watched her grow up, through different stages, and she was always in good spirits, always asking questions and wanting to learn everything she could. Nothing was going to deter her from accomplishing her goals."

Donald ultimately decided to pursue nursing, graduating from Texas Tech University in 2010. She began working in a NICU in Lubbock shortly afterward. But it was when she returned to Driscoll's NICU as a nurse that she felt her life had come full circle.

"I understand the parents' fears now," she said. "I feel for them. I want to give their child the best care I can because nurses can make an impact, like they did in my life."

Giving children and families hope is important to Donald too. She has volunteered at Camp Hearty, a summer camp for children with congenital heart defects that Driscoll sponsors annually in Rockport,
and she often offers support to families in the NICU.

"Chris has an outstanding ability to connect with the babies and families in the NICU," said Ana Olivera-Hamm, a chaplain at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Donald's friend. "Not only is she a NICU survivor and graduate, but a conqueror. Only God could have ordained her healing and her calling to become a healer herself."

Donald is as healthy as she is happy. She hasn't had any major complications from her heart condition, and a daily dose of blood pressure medication is one of the few reminders of her ordeal. She has even backpacked across Alaska with her parents, where they now live, she said. And, with a husband who is in pharmacy school, she is focused on the future and having children.
Nevertheless, she doesn't take her good health for granted.

"All my life I've been given a finite number of years to live - maybe 12 years, maybe more," Donald said. "Now I'm told I'll probably have a normal lifespan. You either get devastated because your life may be short or you make the best of it. It's in God's hands."

This is the third in a series of stories about extraordinary patients that Driscoll Children's Hospital is sharing throughout 2013 as part of its 60th anniversary celebration.

Harper recognized for contributions to child abuse pediatrics

August 27, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recognized Nancy Harper, MD, FAAP, medical director of the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, for her participation as a member of the planning group for PREP®: CAP An Update of Child Abuse Pediatrics, held in Norfolk, Va., July 11-14, 2013.

A continuing medical education activity, PREP®: CAP is a comprehensive update of child abuse pediatrics that emphasizes the process of evidence-based clinical decision-making and focuses on the scientific basis for the clinical practice of pediatric medicine. Member contributions to this educational effort are recognized as a gift to the improvement of care for infants, children and adolescents.

"The Academy is a top provider of quality Pediatric Continuing Medical Education," said Robert Perelman, MD, FAAP, director of the AAP Department of Education. "It is through the continued commitment of outstanding members, like Dr. Harper, that enables the Academy to accomplish the excellence in education that has become our goal of achievement."

Anyaegbu joins Driscoll as pediatric nephrologist

August 19, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - Elizabeth Anyaegbu, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric nephrologist. Dr. Anyaegbu completed a nephrology fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where she also received a master's degree in clinical investigation. She performed her residency at Driscoll from 2007 to 2010. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Society of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation.

Families with babies in intensive care at Driscoll find comfort from March of Dimes program

August 14, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - March of Dimes announced today that Driscoll Children's Hospital will launch a NICU Family Support Program®. The program, which provides information and comfort to families of premature babies and other critically ill newborns being cared for in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), is being funded by The Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation.

"Preparing for a new baby is a time of great excitement," said Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC, chair of the March of Dimes Program Services Committee in the Corpus Christi Division and director of Mom's Place, a breastfeeding resource center at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "Families don't expect anything to go wrong, but when something does go wrong, it can be very overwhelming. The Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation's funding of the NICU Family Support Program will help make the journey through neonatal intensive care smoother and less traumatic for families."

The NICU Family Support Program is an important component of the March of Dimes' efforts to help all babies - those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. As part of their commitment to help give every baby a healthy start, the March of Dimes has made medical and technological advances that have saved millions of babies' lives and health.

The NICU Family Support Program is now established in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. More than 86,000 families will have access to the information and support activities offered through the March of Dimes NICU Family Support annually.

"The March of Dimes is looking forward to partnering with Driscoll Children's Hospital through NICU Family Support because of its reputation for excellence and the quality care it provides to babies," Rosaura De Los Santos, Executive Director of the March of Dimes said. "Driscoll Children's Hospital does incredible work every day to care for sick babies and their families. We want to support their efforts."

Christopher Joyal, Driscoll's NICU director states "We are excited to be a March of Dimes NICU Family Support site and are looking forward to this collaborative effort to support parents throughout their stay with us. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with NICU parents and staff to develop programs specific to the needs of our families."

Incorporating NICU families into every level of the program, March of Dimes NICU Family Support addresses the needs of families throughout the hospitalization, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death. NICU Family Support also includes a professional development component to provide hospital NICU staff with support and educational opportunities. The program is led by hospital staff with professional NICU experience. Each NICU family receives a March of Dimes Parent Care Kit including informational books and materials to chart their baby's milestones.

What: Unveiling of NICU Family Support Unit
When: 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, third floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Páez brings pediatric endocrinology expertise to Driscoll

August 09, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ana María Páez, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a pediatric endocrinologist. Dr. Páez recently completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she performed her pediatric residency from 2007 to 2010. She received her medical degree in 2007 at the Ponce School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Dr. Páez is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Driscoll Children's Hospital announces new directors

August 02, 2013
Clockwise from top left: Martinez, Thomas, Jones, Perez
Clockwise from top left: Martinez, Thomas, Jones, Perez
CORPUS CHRISTI - Margaret Jones, RN, MA, NEA, BC, has been hired as director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Jones has 35 years of nursing experience in pediatric, neonatal and adult hospital settings and has held positions in both management and education. She previously held leadership positions at hospitals in Houston.

Joe Martinez has been promoted to director of the Engineering Department at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Martinez began working at Driscoll in 1993 as a plant operator and has served as maintenance supervisor and facilities manager for the past three years.

Also, Miguel Perez, III, has been promoted to Driscoll Health System's director of Information Systems and chief information officer. Perez, who has 15 years of information systems experience, has been a member of the Driscoll team for the past 10 years, having served as director of Information Systems and chief information officer for Driscoll Health Plan. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in environmental science from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, as well as a master's degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

In addition, Driscoll has promoted Jessy Thomas to director of Pharmacy. Thomas joined Driscoll in 2005 as a staff pharmacist, later becoming the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit clinical pharmacist and the assistant director of Pharmacy. She holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and she completed a residency in pharmacy practice.