November 8, 2016

11916marshallthomas175Marshall Thomas, patient transporter for Patient Escort-Facilities Operations Division, died October 31 at the age of 58.

Marshall joined Texas Children’s Hospital in 1998 and provided excellent patient care for the next 18 years. He was known for his dependability and hard work – always the one who was more than willing to share his knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual advice with others on the job.

Everyone who has known Marshall will miss his understanding smile, distinctive calm, peaceful demeanor, and remarkable humility.

He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Sharon; daughters, Rasheba Telford and Michelle Thomas; son, Marshall Glenn Thomas Jr.; sisters, Roslyn Donaie, Shelia Thomas and Debbie Ben and four grandchildren.

Upcoming services

Saturday, November 12
Viewing: 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Funeral service: 10 a.m.
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
4600 Reed Road
Houston, TX 77051-2857

Tuesday, November 15
Memorial service: 2:30 p.m.
Texas Children’s auditorium, Abercrombie Building, B1 Level

11916wcmakingamark640Patients, families and employees at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus recently received a special treat when The Periwinkle Foundation granted a request to bring its Making A Mark exhibit to the community hospital.

The exhibit showcasing art created by children ages 3 to 22 who have been affected by cancer and blood disorders was installed in the lobby of West Campus last month and will be there until mid-November. This exhibit will then travel to other Texas locations.

Deborah Lee, assistant director of nursing for the Cancer Center at West Campus, said she is thrilled to have the Making A Mark exhibit on display for the West Campus community and that many of the pictures were created by patients who’ve received care at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

“These beautiful expressions of the child’s feelings through artwork show a piece of the journey they’ve been through,” Lee said. “It allows us to see the human factor affected by disease. It also brings healing for the child who created the art and for all who have the opportunity to view it.”

Linda Baker, assistant director of pharmacy at West Campus, helped get the Making A Mark exhibit to the community hospital and said she looks forward to it being a part of the campus for years to come.

“We are so excited to have the Making A Mark exhibit at West Campus for our patients and families to enjoy,” she said. “The Periwinkle Foundation specifically selected artwork by children that live in West Houston for this display.”

Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers is the largest pediatric oncology and blood disease center in the United States and was ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The center, located in the Medical Center and at West Campus, is staffed by nationally and internationally recognized experts who have made major clinical and research advances in the treatment of childhood malignancies.

November 1, 2016

As Madisyn Thompson sat in her hospital room at West Tower, all she could think about was her surgery the next day. Her mind swept through a flood of conflicting emotions and thoughts until she got a surprise visit from a furry visitor.

“I was so happy to see her and interact with her,” Madisyn said, as she combed her fingers through the soft fur behind Elsa’s ears. “She made my day because she is really lovable and sweet.”

Madisyn is one of several Texas Children’s patients already benefitting from the hospital’s new facility dog program that launched this month. The program uses animal-assisted therapy to improve the emotional well-being of pediatric patients by reducing their anxiety, perception of pain and fear of hospitalization.

“We knew having a facility dog here full time, Monday to Friday, would allow us to really target that patient population who could really benefit and show enhanced outcomes through work with a therapy dog,” said Mary Tietjens, assistant director of Child Life and Social Work.

Elsa and her handler Sarah Herbek begin their shift bright and early around 8 a.m. After Herbek reviews the consults for the day, she and Elsa begin seeing patients in West Tower from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break in between patient visits.

“We provide goal-oriented therapeutic interventions to patients who have been hospitalized due to a traumatic event such as victims of abuse or patients who have chronic pain,” said Herbek, a Child Life specialist and animal-assisted therapy coordinator. “We also work alongside physical and occupational therapists to provide a little bit of encouragement and motivation to patients who are rebuilding their motor skills or who need to ambulate after surgery.”

For Madisyn, spending a few minutes with Elsa helps her focus less on her illness and more on the unconditional love and comfort that a therapy dog provides.

“It takes your mind off things and it distracts you from everything going on and the stress and all the feelings that go through your head when you have some spare time to sit and think,” Madisyn said.

Madisyn’s mother couldn’t agree more as she tearfully recalls the heart-warming moment when Elsa walked in to her daughter’s room.

“You see your child and you see the light going out of their eyes,” Jessica Thompson said. “When Elsa walked in, my daughter’s face lit up. She’s been excited about the whole experience.”

When Michelle Guerrero and her husband welcomed their daughter Olivia on November 8, 2012, at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, their excitement quickly gave way to anxiety. Soon after Olivia was born, she had trouble breathing and was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for observation.

Olivia had developed pneumothorax, her lung had collapsed and she needed a chest tube and breathing tube. As a parent, Guerrero worried about her daughter’s lung condition, but having cared for premature and critically ill infants in the Newborn Center, she knew Olivia was in the best place for treatment.

“My daughter spent three weeks in the NICU, and I am grateful for the exceptional care she received,” Guerrero said. “As a nurse, I am also proud of the incredible work we do every day to improve the outcomes of our babies in the Newborn Center.”

For Guerrero and her NICU colleagues, there’s yet another reason to be extremely thankful.

On October 20, the 19th annual Bad Pants golf tournament donated $375,000 that will support life-saving programs and services for the tiniest patients at Texas Children’s Newborn Center who are in need of premier medical treatment. Each year since 1997, the turnout at the annual golf outing continues to soar.

“As a grateful parent and a representative of the presenting sponsor, it’s very exciting to see how much the tournament has grown over the years,” said Les Fox, Bad Pants Open committee member and managing director of RBC Wealth Management. “We filled three golf courses with nearly 400 golfers wearing some really bad pants to raise funds that will directly support the care of premature babies and their families. I can’t wait to celebrate our 20th year in 2017!”

The event included a check presentation to the Newborn Center where the proceeds will advance innovation and excellence in the research, treatment and care for the more than 2,500 critically ill and premature infants who are treated at the Newborn Center each year.

Crystal Cruz, the recipient of the 2016 Bad Pants NICU Nurse of the Year award, says this generous donation will go a long way to improve patient outcomes.

“Giving is an act of charity and every year, the Bad Pants golf tournament helps our organization continue to make miracles happen,” Cruz said. “I am extremely grateful for this event and all that is donated to help us continue to help save these precious, tiny lives we are entrusted to care for.”

View a photo gallery of the 2016 Bad Pants Open.

Halloween was definitely not lost on the many sick children at Texas Children’s who had to miss school parties and trick or treating events due to doctor’s visits or hospital stays. Throughout the day and across the Texas Children’s system, there was a load of Halloween fun for patients and their families. Watch the video to get a glimpse of the fun everyone had at these unforgettable events.

At West Campus, the festivities began on October 28 when members of Texas Window Cleaning Co., Inc. dressed up as super heroes and cleaned the hospital’s windows while waving to children inside. The company has been cleaning the windows at Main Campus since 1957 and at West Campus since 2011.

“This is the third year the superheroes have brought their superpowers to West Campus, and we are grateful to them for doing so,” said Matt Schaefer, president of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. “Things like this are small and simple, but they can have a profound impact on our patients, families and visitors. After all, what better way to live out our vision than to look for ways to brighten the days of the patients who seek care on our campus.”

Festivities at West Campus and beyond continued on Monday with the West Campus Fall Festival and the Annual Halloween Spooktacular Patient’s Party on The Auxiliary Bridge in the Medical Center. Dressed in their Halloween best, employees handed out goodies to patients during the multi-hour long parties sponsored by Child Life at West Campus and the Patient Activity Team at Main Campus.

Ghosts, goblins and ghouls also were out in full force at other areas across the organization, including the new Outpatient Facility in The Woodlands, various Health Centers across the Houston area and many departments at Main Campus.

11216pscf640Purple Songs Can Fly celebrated its 10-year anniversary this month with the Journey to Hope gala at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the beautiful seated dinner, guests enjoyed an inspiring performance of Purple Songs Can Fly’s original musical, Journey to Hope, starring six pediatric cancer patients/survivors who shared their incredible stories and songs of hope. Carol Herron, coordinator of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, was the gala honoree and received praise for her continued dedication to bringing the arts to patients.

Purple Songs Can Fly is a unique program that provides a musical outlet for children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. In this program, which is the first of its kind, the children work with founder, Anita Kruse, and other professional composers to write and record their own songs. In an in-house studio at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, composers work with children and their siblings to write, record, and burn songs to disc within short session.

Click here to listen to a Purple Songs Can Fly song that Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Texas Children’s patient Peyton Richardson created about their cancer journey and the importance of always remaining positive.

11216drshook175Chief Safety Officer Dr. Joan Shook received the 2016 Jim Seidel Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine at the AAP National Conference on October 22 in San Francisco. The award recognizes members who have provided exceptional service to the section and to the field of pediatric emergency care.