Driscoll Children’s Hospital Breaking New Ground in Rio Grande Valley
Free-Standing Children’s Hospital Set to Open Late 2022/Early 2023

In 1953 when Clara Driscoll’s vision of having a free-standing children’s hospital based in Corpus Christi designed to serve. Children – regardless of their family’s ability to pay – shifted from vision to reality,  it was undoubtedly one of those defining. Moments for her legacy, for the children and for South Texas.  And it was that vision and her determination to make it happen – infused with foresight and compassion – which paved the. Way for Driscoll Children’s Hospital to offer premiere healthcare for all children throughout South Texas.

And today – some 68 years later – with the ground breaking news of a second free-standing Driscoll Children’s Hospital to. Be built to better serve children in the Rio Grande Valley, Clara Driscoll’s dream is poised to grow in ways. She could never have imagined — once again affirming her vision and her mission, something about which she would certainly be. Most pleased.

“Healthcare is local,” explains Eric Hamon, President and CEO of Driscoll Health System. At Driscoll, we know and believe the best thing for children and their families is to receive the highest quality. Of healthcare as close to home as possible.  And that’s what Driscoll Children’s Hospital is all about — what’s best for the kids and their families.

“With that in mind,” Hamon says, “we have been looking at the possibility of opening a new free-standing children’s. Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley for some time.  And we have been talking and working with physicians, families and community leaders to consider all of the elements that. Would need to be in place to build and support a children’s hospital here for the children, their families and. The community as a whole.”

To establish and sustain a freestanding children’s hospital in a city or in a specific region is no small task. As evidenced by the fact there are currently only 32 of them in the U.S, eight of which are in. Texas.  And the new Driscoll Children’s Hospital soon-to-be built in Edinburg will make nine within the Lone Star State.

“Everyone at Driscoll,” explains Hamon, “knows and understands what it takes to offer the highest quality of care for children. And their families; we do it every day in our hospital and in our clinics.  And we also know what it takes to sustain that level of care over the long term with compassion and. Commitment. 

“Since we initiated pediatric care in the Rio Grande Valley more than 50 years ago, we have continued to see. The growing need to offer even greater pediatric healthcare services for children in the Valley.  And for some time we have watched that need expand dramatically as the population in the Rio Grande Valley has. Experienced extraordinary growth.

At Driscoll,” Hamon adds earnestly, “we are a family and we operate as a community of caregivers at the highest. Level.  The Rio Grande Valley has always been part of the Driscoll family. With the new hospital, we are just adding to that family to provide an even higher quality care for these. Children a little closer to home.”

Providing cardiology services for children in the Rio Grande Valley has been an integral part of the Driscoll heart program since the late ‘60s. And there are two full-time Driscoll cardiologists who have worked in the Valley for years.

“Driscoll has had a cardiology program in the Valley for many years,” explains pediatric cardiologist Ngozi Agu, MD, who has. Worked in the Valley since 2012.  “We take care of children from before birth until the age of 21 and beyond with adult congenital heart disease. Patients, in conjunction with adult cardiologists,” she explains. “And our services include fetal and neonatal evaluations, exercise testing, CT scans and labs, X-rays, as well as consultations. And evaluations for heart issues such as heart murmurs, chest pain and heart rhythms.

 “I can’t say enough about what this new hospital will do for the children and families who live in the Valley.  Perhaps at first glance,” explains Dr. Agu who has worked for Driscoll for 10 years, “it does not seem so challenging to have to drive your child 2-and-a-half hours for an appointment.

“But if you are doing that every week, the stress on the mother and the family can become overwhelming, particularly if you have other children or a job. How do you keep your job?  The stress is huge for the whole family. With the new hospital, children who have open heart surgery in Corpus Christi can come home and recover at home in a program that is cohesive and provides the highest level of care where they live.  That will – without a doubt – dramatically change the lives of so many of these children and their families.”

Another critical specialty area which will be greatly enhanced when the new hospital opens is maternal fetal medicine.  Although maternal fetal medicine has been offered in the Valley for years, Driscoll will provide a missing piece that will significantly elevate the level and quality of care for babies and families before and after birth.

“With maternal fetal medicine, “explains maternal fetal specialist John Visintine, MD, “our mission is twofold:  To care for the moms who are having difficult pregnancies including issues such as diabetes, pre-eclampsia and heart disease.   One of the big considerations when babies have critical issues is where should that baby be born for the care needed.    

“One of the reasons the new Driscoll Hospital is so impactful,” says Dr. Visintine, who lives in the Valley and has been with Driscoll since 2009, “is that we have a Level IV maternity center here in the Valley, and now with Driscoll we will have a Level III NICU and a PICU as well. That means moms and babies can be together where they live, receive high quality care and not be worrying about what’s happening back home.  This new hospital will do so much for babies, moms, and families, and we will be right here with them every step of the way.”

Pediatric surgeon, Ambrosio Hernandez, MD, also believes the new Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley will have a profound impact in enhancing the opportunities for care for children and their families in the Valley, as well as provide greater opportunities for medical professionals now and in the future.
“With the current surgical facility we have,” explains Dr. Hernandez, “we are limited in the services we can offer.  And the result is we often have to send children and their families hundreds of miles away to receive the medical services and procedures they need.  With the new hospital, we will be able to conduct many surgeries here as well as offer therapy, imaging, lab work and other emergency services for these kids at home and they can be here with their team in one place, bringing hope and relief to many parents and children.

“In addition, I believe the new Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley will become an anchor for medical advancement in our region and attract new medical personnel, including doctors and specialists, to our community.”

There is no doubt, Driscoll continues to discover new pathways to enhance and expand upon Clara Driscoll’s vision of providing healthcare for every child in in South Texas.  For pediatric medicine to be where it is today would certainly amaze her, but to be able to have two freestanding children’s hospitals in South Texas – carrying her moniker – where children can get the highest quality of care they need right in their own backyard, that she would probably think is nothing short of miraculous.

Driscoll Children's Hospital
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Driscoll Children’s Hospital has a rich history of bringing the best and brightest healthcare professionals home to South Texas. Physicians and staff use a creative blend of treatment, education and play to reach the best possible outcome in the treatment of every child. Smiles, hugs and a soothing touch are as much a part of Driscoll’s approach to treating children as is its advanced medical treatments and technologies. When patients and families come to Driscoll for help, they are met with the same compassion, spirit and generosity with which Clara Driscoll blessed our community when she founded Driscoll Children’s Hospital more than 60 years ago.

The hospital and its specialty centers, urgent care centers and after-hours facility, serve a vast area. On a daily basis, physicians and patients are transported by ground and air to ensure the children of South Texas can receive the best treatment possible. Driscoll treats more than 100,000 children every year from 31 South Texas counties.

The hospital is a 191-bed tertiary care center offering 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties.