Omar Cruz-Diaz, MD, and Leon Smith-Harrison, MD

Omar Cruz-Diaz, MD, and Leon Smith-Harrison, MD

Omar Cruz-Diaz, MD, and Leon Smith-Harrison, MD, are pediatric urologists at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. They provide care for patients across South Texas, including Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center-Harlingen and Driscoll Children’s Medical Plaza-McAllen.

Omar Cruz-Diaz, MD, has been with Driscoll Children’s Hospital less than a year, but he already feels like he’s part of the South Texas family. That’s with good reason.

“A lot of hospitals talk about having a family environment, but that is so true here at Driscoll Children’s Hospital,” Dr. Cruz-Diaz said. “It’s not only like a family with how the staff interacts with the patients and their families; it’s also a family environment amongst the doctors, nurses and staff. We work together as a team, but even ‘team’ doesn’t seem like the right word because it’s more of a family than a team.”

Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s pediatric urologists Dr. Cruz-Diaz and Leon Smith-Harrison, MD, provide care for patients across South Texas, including Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center-Harlingen and Driscoll Children’s Medical Plaza-McAllen. They provide the highest quality care to infants, children and adolescents who are born with, or who develop, abnormalities of the urinary or genital systems.

“The population in the Rio Grande Valley, from Brownsville through McAllen and Edinburg, all the way to Rio Grande City, is about a million people,” stated Dr. Smith-Harrison and continued, “So, we have the ability to help a lot of children. We’re proud that so many of those children and their families put their trust in us and in Driscoll.”

Urological issues are the second most common conditions, after heart conditions, affecting newborns. Many of these problems are diagnosed during pregnancy, enabling doctors to intervene quickly after birth before any symptoms arise. Other urological conditions are diagnosed during childhood.

“We provide evaluation and treatment for a full spectrum of congenital and acquired conditions involving the urinary and genital tracts,” Dr. Cruz-Diaz said. “These include urinary tract infections, especially those involving a fever or failure to thrive, which may need further investigation to rule out a congenital condition that may jeopardize development. We also see and treat a lot of other conditions that may require surgical interventions such as phimosis, male and female hernias, hydroceles, kidney stones, undescended testes and urinary tract obstructions.”

The goal is to provide quality therapy using the least invasive approach possible. Laparoscopic and endoscopic techniques have several advantages over traditional operations: they can minimize the child’s postoperative discomfort, shorten the patient’s hospital stay and allow the child to return to school and to full activity much sooner.

Families can help their child from developing urological issues by instilling sound, healthy habits at home.

“We’re obviously dealing with a sensitive area, so the least invasive, the better for the patient,” Dr. Smith-Harrison said. “The recovery will be much better and everything will go more smoothly if we can use a laparoscopic or endoscopic technique.”

Families can help prevent their children from developing urological issues by instilling sound, healthy habits at home.

“Parents can encourage their children to develop regular, proper bathroom habits,” Dr. Smith-Harrison said. “We all tell our children to make sure they wash their hands when they go to the bathroom, but make sure they really do it. Good hygiene habits really do go a long way. Also, you can make sure your child has a healthy diet. Simple good hygiene and a healthy diet can make a big difference for your child.”

If parents suspect that their child is experiencing urological difficulties, Dr. Cruz-Diaz stated that it’s urgent that the child see a pediatric specialist.

“The urological issues children have are different than those of typical adults,” Dr. Cruz-Diaz said. “You need a pediatric urologist’s perspective to get the best possible, most appropriate and up-to-date care. We provide that expertise at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and the entire experience here focuses on the child.

“Our mission is to help the children of South Texas. We work together as a team to make sure each child that sees us has the best possible care they could find and we’re proud to be able to do that right here in South Texas.”