Since its opening in February 2009, Driscoll Children’s Quick Care, located at Driscoll Children’s Medical Plaza in McAllen, has been the go-to clinic for busy moms and dads.

For parents who need a clinic that is open when they are off work, Driscoll Children’s Quick Care is their kind of place. The clinic offers outpatient, non-emergency medical care for patients from birth to 21 years old.

It offers just the kind of care the children of the Rio Grande Valley need. Riaz A. Shareef, MD, Medical Director of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care, makes sure of that.

Dr. Shareef and his staff do everything possible to ensure the health and well-being of the children of the Rio Grande Valley. They are well aware children aren’t sick just during “regular” business hours, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Children require care – from pediatricians and staff who best understand their growing bodies – weekends and evenings too.

“Our highly-trained physicians and skilled medical staff offer a child-friendly environment which helps children relax so they can receive proper and personalized healthcare in a very non-intimidating manner compared to an emergency room,” said Dr. Shareef.

“We are committed to delivering instant access to quality pediatric care for families who are unable to see their primary care physician during afterhours and weekends,” said Dr. Shareef. “Each of our physicians strives to give the same personalized care that would be expected from a child’s primary care physician.”

Rio Grande Valley families appreciate Quick Care’s hours of operation – 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekends  – because they fill the gap when their children’s primary physicians’ offices are closed.

Patients mostly come from McAllen and the surrounding cities, and some come from Harlingen and Brownsville.

Dr. Shareef estimates the staff sees anywhere from 800 to 1400 patients a month, depending on the time of year, and more than 15,000 patients per year.

“Driscoll Children’s Hospital offers the most complex and comprehensive medical and surgical care for the children of South Texas,” said Dr. Shareef. “Children from the Valley get to see specialists from Driscoll right here in the Valley, without having to travel all the way to Corpus Christi. The Rio Grande Valley greatly appreciates excellent care and great customer service: The Driscoll Way.”

Dr. Shareef is quite familiar with the Driscoll Way: He did his pediatric residency at Driscoll Children’s Hospital from 2002-2005, and moved to the Valley, where he has worked as a Pediatric Hospitalist since. He has been with Driscoll Children’s Quick Care since it opened in February 2009 as Medical Director; he also is an Associate Medical Director for the Driscoll Health Plan.

“All physicians working at Quick Care are local pediatricians who have lots of experience taking care of children,” said Dr. Shareef. “Quick Care offers an alternative to the emergency room or adult quick care centers for families seeking care during the evening and weekend. We have contributed greatly to the decrease in emergency room visits for children with non-emergency needs.”

“Driscoll Children’s Hospital offers the most complex and comprehensive medical and surgical care for the children of South Texas.”

Dr. Shareef and his staff are acutely aware of the challenge they face since they are not the primary care physician of the patients they see.

Dr. Shareef said nurses and physicians go the extra mile in explaining the diagnosis and treatment plan to the parents. The staff also makes follow-up calls two days after the Quick Care visit to ensure  patients are doing well and that their parents have scheduled a follow-up visit with their primary care provider. “Pediatricians and patients both appreciate the service we provide,” he said.

In addition, a summary of the care received is faxed to the patient’s primary care provider after the visit, and all patients are referred back to that primary care provider for follow-up care.

The services offered by Driscoll Children’s Quick Care are many.

“We take care of various kinds of infections, minor cuts and fractures. We also give antibiotic injections and provide breathing treatments,” said Dr. Shareef. “We are supported by a full-scale laboratory and radiology services, which avoids the need for patients to go to another facility to get labs and x-rays done. We also have the ability to schedule CT scan and ultrasound studies the following morning if needed.”

In other words, the Quick Care staff take care of all those ailments that tend to affect children: fever, upper respiratory infections, minor injuries, minor fractures, cuts that require sutures or glue, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma exacerbation.

The staff also has seen much more serious cases, and is trained to treat them properly.

“We have diagnosed children with different life-threatening illnesses that required us to stabilize the patient and send them to the emergency room via EMS or to admit them to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU),” said Dr. Shareef.

Dr. Shareef emphasized the need for a clinic like Driscoll Children’s Quick Care, because children are not miniature adults.

Children have a relatively larger body surface area in comparison to their body weight and thinner skin compared to adults. As a result, children are at a greater risk of excessive loss of heat and fluids, and are affected more quickly and easily by toxins that are absorbed through the skin.

Children also have a higher metabolic rate and are more susceptible to contaminants in food and water, are at greater risk for increased loss of water when ill or stressed. They have an immature immune system and are at greater risk of infection.

Finally, medication doses must be carefully calculated based on the child’s weight and body size. They require extra time, monitoring, specialized medications, specialized medical equipment and specially trained healthcare staff, Dr. Shareef explained.

 Driscoll Children’s Quick Care has the staff that understands the complex needs of their young patients and works closely with the parents to meet those needs. “I think Quick Care has a very bright future. It continues to grow as more parents and patients become aware of its existence,” said Dr. Shareef. “We have the ability to expand our operating hours if needed and we are continuously working hard to decrease our waiting time. We are planning on having up to three pediatricians working together during the winter, when the need is greatest.”

At Driscoll Children’s Quick Care, the needs of the Valley’s children are met daily, seven days a week, so that busy moms and dads can rest just a little bit easier.