May 29, 2018

On May 23, a day after the opening of phase one of Legacy Tower, another significant milestone was reached in Texas Children’s Hospital’s storied history. At 7:15 a.m., a 9-month-old boy was taken back to a new, state-of-the-art operating room for the first surgery in Legacy Tower, Texas Children’s new home for heart, intensive care and surgery.

Watch this video highlighting the clinical features of Legacy Tower, including the facility’s new operating and transitional ICU rooms.

Dr. Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Edward Buchanan, chief of plastic surgery, Dr. Howard Weiner, chief of neurosurgery, and Dr. Robert Dauser, neurosurgeon, along with a team of anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants and operating room staff, performed the successful craniofacial procedure. Following the surgery, the patient was taken to the hospital’s new neurological ICU, a first-of-its-kind unit dedicated to pediatric patients who require specialized neurological care.

“As the largest and busiest department of surgery in the country, we are called upon every day to perform some of the most complex surgeries on the sickest of children,” said Hollier. “Legacy Tower is an answer to those calls, and this is the first of many positive outcomes in our new home.”

Weiner agreed and said the new tower is a game changer that will allow various teams at Texas Children’s to offer better family-centric care.

“This is a huge day at Texas Children’s Hospital,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be here and to be part of something so transformational.”

Phase one of Legacy Tower, Texas Children’s 640,000-square-foot expansion, officially opened on May 22 with six technologically-advanced operating rooms for neurosurgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, transplant and pediatric surgery – one with intraoperative MRI – and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neurological and transitional ICU rooms. This milestone will help Texas Children’s continue to provide the highest-quality care possible to patients and families, particularly those children who are critically-ill.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on May 22, seven specially-trained clinical teams safely transported 45 critically-ill patients to their new, spacious, state-of-the-art critical care rooms. More than 150 Texas Children’s staff members were involved in the move, and the careful transfer of the patients took seven hours.

Click here to view a video and photo gallery of the patient move to Legacy Tower.

Dauser said the Legacy Tower, specifically the operating rooms and their location to other specialties and services, are fantastic.

“Having the ability to conduct an intraoperative MRI in a room adjacent to one of the ORs has tremendous advantages,” he said. “Having an ICU dedicated to neuro patients also is a plus.”

Buchanan said such features provide the perfect environment for him and his colleagues to treat some of the sickest and most complex patients in the country.

“We all are very excited,” he said.

The second phase of Legacy Tower will open in September and house Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.

Ten-year-old Skye Jeary couldn’t believe her eyes as she was wheeled into her new, spacious room in Texas Children’s Legacy Tower. She was in awe when she saw the size of her room and commented on how she’ll have plenty of space to accommodate her stuffed unicorn and her mom who is in a wheelchair.

On May 22, Texas Children’s reached an historic milestone when the doors of Legacy Tower opened for the first time to care for our most critically ill patients. Beginning at 7 a.m., seven specially trained clinical teams began safely transporting 45 critically ill patients from the pediatric intensive care unit and progressive care unit in West Tower to their new, spacious, state-of-the-art critical care rooms in Legacy Tower.

More than 150 Texas Children’s staff members were involved in the patient move to Legacy Tower, and the careful transfer of the patients took seven hours, which was a lot sooner than originally anticipated due to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Legacy Tower teams involved on Move Day.

“The planning for the patient move was unbelievably detailed,” said Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, service chief of Critical Care Services at Texas Children’s. “The patient move involved nursing, administration, physicians, nurse practitioners, all members of the team as well as the amazing family support team that guided the families through what could have been a potentially overwhelming event for them.”

Patient and family services teams were assigned to each family member to help accompany and escort them from their current unit to the new unit in Legacy Tower and to get them settled in their new rooms.

“Our families were so excited about the move,” said Michelle Lawson, director of Texas Children’s Clinical Support Services. “They were being cheered on along the way and they were excited to be in their brand new space. They couldn’t believe we built it just for them.”

The Legacy Tower Go Live Support Center was set up on the fourth floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and comprised of 867 individuals from across the hospital system who focused on patient move tracking from West Tower to Legacy Tower. The team included support staff from Supply Chain, Security, BioMedical Engineering, Facilities Operations, Information Services, Pharmacy, Respiratory Care, as well as ancillary support teams from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and our Health Centers.

“We had floor plans on the wall that were physically tracking the patients as they moved from West Tower to Legacy Tower,” said Matt Timmons, director of Business Operations and Support Services at West Campus. “We also documented it on a spreadsheet displayed on projectors so anybody in the Go Live Support Center knew exactly where our patients were throughout the entire move process.”

While patients were being moved safely to Legacy Tower, Mission Control ensured a smooth process for the patient move by collaborating with teams from the The Woodlands Campus and West Campus to manage the inflow of patients across the system while the move process was underway.

Seven hours after the patient move process began, staff cheered and clapped their hands as the last patient was moved to Legacy Tower.

“We call today the Super Bowl of patient moves,” said Texas Children’s Vice President of Nursing Gail Parazynski. “We observed the tireless leadership, unity, and undying compassion our team has exhibited all week during the first phase of the Legacy Tower Go-Live. The success of this go-live is a true testament to the leadership and dedicated teamwork at Texas Children’s Hospital.”

One day after this historic move, the first surgery was successfully performed in the new state-of-the-art operating room in Legacy Tower.

View the photo gallery of the patient move to Legacy Tower below. Click here to read the story of the first surgery in Legacy Tower and watch video of the state-of-the-art features of our new OR in Legacy Tower.

The second phase of Legacy Tower will open in September and house Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.

It is only right for the newest employees to formally greet the people who had a hand in bringing them on the team. That was the case when Pinto, Texas Children’s newest therapy dog, had his official meet-and-greet with The Auxiliary board members.

On May 17, Pinto arrived in the lobby of Feigin Tower, and immediately received hugs, cuddles and lots of love from The Auxiliary. The group took a photo and then headed into their recurrent meeting.

Pinto was generously funded through a gift from The Auxiliary to Texas Children’s Hospital. They are a volunteer led organization that has been providing compassion to patients and their families for over 60 years.

A year ago, the first therapy dog and her handler attended an Auxiliary board meeting, to enlighten the members about the Pawsitive Play program and its tremendous impact that it has on patient care and experience. The members of the board were so moved that one of them spoke up and asked how the Auxiliary could support the expansion of the program.

“The Auxiliary to Texas Children’s Hospital is thrilled to welcome Pinto to the hospital family,” said Nancy Baycroft, President of the Auxiliary. “His presence throughout the halls of the hospital brings a smile to all of our members, and more importantly to our patients and families.”

Pinto is a two-and-a-half-year-old male golden retriever, and the hospital’s third therapy dog. His job is to enhance the emotional well-being of pediatric patients by reducing their anxiety, perception of pain and fear of hospitalization.

After the meeting was called to order, he and his handler Shelby Bonnet took the floor to introduce themselves. Bonnet spoke about her experience and role as a child life specialist, who collaborates with medical teams and physical and occupational therapists to visit with five to ten patients each day who are having a particularly difficult time during their hospitalization.

She elaborated on the process of becoming a therapy dog handler, as well as what it took to get Pinto to Texas Children’s. Following a few questions from the board members about Pinto’s connection with patients, Bonnet briefly described an incident when Pinto was able to comfort a 12-year-old who was struggling tremendously.

“The moment he got into her bed she had a breakdown,” said Bonnet. “And within 30 minutes she began to become calmer and open up about her fears of being at the hospital.”

The board members reacted with admiration and smiles from ear-to-ear. At that point they knew that Pinto would have the impact on patients that they expected.

“The Auxiliary board feels immense pride when they see the faces of our patients and families light up! Child Life has already shared stories of the impact Pinto has made,” said Baycroft. “Pinto is one of the most meaningful gifts the Auxiliary has given to the hospital.”

Pinto will be working in Acute Care, including units like Inpatient Rehab, the Emergency Center, and others around the hospital, providing distraction and motivation to patients undergoing certain medical procedures, along with his trusted handler.

The Department of Emergency Management is presenting its 2nd Annual Emergency Management Corridor event:

  • Thursday, May 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – West Campus – First-floor corridor near conference center

Emergency Management will be on hand to help you prepare for hurricane season by offering tips and resources, getting your emergency supplies ready, and making sure you know where to go and what to do during a disaster. There also will be opportunities to join the volunteer Decontamination Team, HAM Radio Club and/or Moulage Team.

Plan to stop by this event to learn safety tips to help you prepare yourself, your family and your patients for the 2018 hurricane season.

One extremely deserving employee earned the Best of the West award. On May 18, Cindy Baurax, supervisor of Respiratory Care at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, was presented a plaque signed by many of her colleagues for her exemplary work.

The Best of the West award recognizes an employee each quarter who has exceled at demonstrating Texas Children’s values – leading tirelessly, living compassionately, amplifying unity and embracing freedom.

“Cindy took on the challenge with no complaints and willingness to do whatever it takes to lead our teams forward,” her coworkers said. “She took on more roles in order to live up to the expectations of the organization, leading the respiratory department tirelessly.”

Over the past two years, Baurax has been committed to excellence through her support of West Campus leadership in taking on additional responsibilities with daily operations and piloting of new projects. Recently, she supported the facilitation of the PICU +1 Sleep project to increase access for our neurophysiology patients.

She has exemplified the many qualities of Best of the West by finding opportunities to demonstrate Texas Children’s values in her role as supervisor of Respiratory Care.


May 22, 2018

Here at Texas Children’s, we are a community devoted to caring for our patients and families. In fact, we are often so focused on caring for others that we overlook the importance of caring for ourselves – but taking care of yourself is paramount to living a happy and healthy life. That is why, this summer, we are challenging you to make self-care a priority in your life both at work and home.

To support you on your journey to self-care, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health coaches will be hosting workshops and activities at no cost for all Texas Children’s badge holders during the summer months. The series will focus on three areas – Eat, Sleep and Play – all thoughtfully created using evidence-based research tools and techniques to promote overall happiness and well-being.

Below are the classes and activities by area:

Become a Mindful Eater
Become a Lunch Prep Expert
Curbing Sugar Cravings

Smoothie Demo
Intuitive Eating Demo

The Biology of Sleep
Sleep Hygiene
Healthy Benefits of Meditation for Sleep

DIY Lavender Pillow Spray

The Basics and Benefits of Pilates
Laughter Yoga
The Importance of Play
Soul Collage

Pet Therapy
Self-Care Bingo
Fitness Walking
Wellness Wednesdays

For a detailed overview of the classes and activities, click here.

“We are so excited to offer the Summer Self-Care Series as participants will learn behavioral strategies and self-care practices to boost well-being in their daily lives,” said Allison Bell, Sr. EAP specialist. “Considering the total number of hours we spend weekly at work, it is just as important for our relationships and our well-being to practice self-care here at work.”

Register Today!
To register for a class, visit HealthStream on Connect and search the class catalog for EAP Self-Care.

Registration is not needed for activities. Classes and activities will be held at Main Campus, West Campus, The Woodlands and Health Plan.

Additional self-care resources such as book suggestions, online resources and podcasts can be found on the EAP page on Connect.

If you have any questions, contact the EAP Team at

David Butler, April 2018 Employee

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
David Butler, Unit Operations Coordinator. I have been an employee of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and the Bone Marrow Transplant team since November 2000.

What month are you Super Star for?
April 2018

What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do? How has the organization helped you achieve your personal and professional goals?
It is an honor to receive this award. I was surprised and honored to find out that one of our team members had taken the time to submit my information for this award. Over the years I have learned so much from this wonderful organization and it has always been my second home.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
Doing what is best for the team so that we can provide the best care for all of our patients on a daily basis.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I was a patient in the Texas Children’s Cancer Center from September 1996 to December 1998 while receiving treatment for Stage IV Non-Hodgkin T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. I believe that things happen for a reason. Because of my cancer history I wanted to come back to Texas Children’s to work with the doctors and nurses that took care of me. I have a lot of great memories. I am blessed to have been able to work for the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and the BMT team for the past 17 plus years.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
Being able to help the patients and families while they are being treated here. I am always impressed by how we as a team try our best to make the patient experience enjoyable. The little things we do can mean a lot to a patient or patient family during their time of need.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
We are all leaders, and we are all part of one big Texas Children’s team. We must do everything we can to help the patients and families while they are being treated at Texas Children’s. We all lead by example.