September 4, 2019

Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre hosted her sixth virtual town hall that spotlighted our recent nursing accomplishments, system updates and our exciting partnership with Employee Health and Wellness that is engaging our nurses around helpful resources to enhance their own health and well-being. Read more

August 27, 2019

On August 17, more than 500 patients and families traveled from all over the country for the 2019 Texas Children’s Newborn Center family reunion. The Texas-themed event celebrated former patients who graduated from the Newborn Center in 2018 after spending 10 days or more in our neonatal intensive care units at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

The reunion was held at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women where parents shared stories of hope and triumph with other neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) families and reconnected with the nurses and doctors who delivered life-saving care to their critically ill babies.

During the reunion the families were able to visit with the employees, physicians and other families that they spent so much time with while being cared for in our NICU. On this day, families who unfortunately were unable to take their babies home also were remembered.

In addition to being reunited with Newborn Center Staff, the NICU reunion offered children’s entertainment including a DJ, games, photo booth, face painting, crafts, airbrush tattoos, appearances from Minnie Mouse, SpongeBob Square Pants and Pikachu, and guests enjoyed a good old-fashioned Texas barbecue.

The event was made possible in part by Texas Children’s NFAC Committee and Bad Pants, an organization that has raised more than $6 million over the past 20 years to support the Newborn Center through the annual Bad Pants Open golf tournament.

Mary Torre shares how participating in Nursing Shared Governance councils has helped her make a meaningful impact on patient care, and encourages her colleagues to participate too. By engaging in shared governance, nurses are involved in making decisions that impact their work environment and the way they deliver care. Read more

August 26, 2019

Formerly conjoined twins Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, who turned 5 on April 11, have started Pre-K 4 in Littlefield, Texas, marking a significant milestone four years after being separated in a more than 20-hour surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Previously, the girls received various therapies, including physical, speech and occupational therapy and schooling in their home. Their mother, Elysse Mata, said the girls love their teachers and especially love recess. They’re also looking forward to taking the bus to school starting next week.

Following a complex pregnancy monitored by experts at Texas Children’s Fetal Center, the twins were safely delivered at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in 2014. After spending the first 10 months of their lives in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, they underwent a successful separation surgery on Feb. 17, 2015. A team of more than 26 clinicians including 12 surgeons, six anesthesiologists and eight surgical nurses, among others, worked together to separate the girls who shared a chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon and pelvis.

During the complex surgery, the team worked for approximately 23 hours on Knatalye and 26 hours on Adeline, with the official separation occurring approximately 18 hours into the surgery. Among the surgical subspecialties involved were pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, urology, liver surgery, orthopedic surgery and pediatric gynecology.

Both girls are doing extremely well and continue to thrive at home where they live with their parents, Eric and Elysse, older brother, Azariah, and younger sister, Mia. The family is very excited to see the girls sharing this special milestone together.

This month, Texas Children’s Health & Well-Being team partnered with colleagues from Environmental Health & Safety, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Occupational & Physical Therapy to launch the “We’ve Got Your Back” video series, which empowers our employees with advice and insight to prevent back pain in the workplace – no matter your location, shift or role.

In the first three episodes of the series, our featured experts offered tips and instructions to empower employees to arrange a safe and comfortable work environment with attention to ergonomics; properly lift and lower objects with the right body mechanics and techniques; and complete hamstring stretches, hip flexor stretches and planks to maintain flexibility and strengthen the core. In the final video of the series on desk stretches, Health Coach Jackie Pacheco of Employee Health & Well-Being shares stretches you can perform at your desk any time to help loosen your spine and relieve tension.

“We have a large percentage of employees who work at a desk and spend prolonged periods during the day sitting down,” said Pacheco, who is also a certified personal trainer, ergonomics and safety specialist and athletic trainer. “I want to help our employees maintain their lower back flexibility and help prevent any discomfort that can happen when you’re stuck at a desk all day.”

Click here to watch the fourth and final episode of “We’ve Got Your Back,” which showcases several easy and effective stretches that you can complete without ever leaving your office. You’ll start off with a few moves to do right from your chair, then progress into sit-to-stands and lunges that ensure your tissue is fully extended. When you’re done, your body will be looser, more limber and ready to get back to work.

Missed an episode of “We’ve Got Your Back” or want to watch them all again? Follow the links below to access each video in the series.

Episode 1: Ergonomics
Episode 2: Proper Lifting Techniques
Episode 3: Exercises to Prevent Back Pain
Episode 4: Desk Stretches

August 20, 2019

When 19-year-old Isabella Williams found out she was going to meet not one but 10 Houston Texans cheerleaders, her face lit up like a lightbulb.

“She LOVES to cheer,” said Child Life Specialist Natalie Juneau. “This is a perfect event for her.”

The event Juneau had the privilege of inviting Williams and other patients to on August 13, was the fourth Houston Texans Jr. Cheer Mini Camp. Held in a conference room on the fourth floor of the Pavilion for Women, the event brings the Texans Junior Cheerleader Program to children who wouldn’t be able to participate otherwise.

“This is one of my favorite events,” Texans cheerleader Shakila said. “I love being able to make the kids smile.”

View photos from the event below.

Shakila and her colleagues – Amanda, Ashley, Briana, Gabrielle, Kristin, Lainey, Natalie, Taryn and Taylor – spent about an hour with Isabella and several other Texas Children’s patients. The cheerleaders performed for them, did an arts and crafts project with them, signed autographs, posed for pictures, and handed out lots of goodies, including Junior Cheerleader T-Shirts, insulated water bottles and bright red pom-poms.

At one point during the event, the patients were divided into three teams with the cheerleaders – Liberty White, Battle Red and Deep Steel Blue –and asked to come up with their own group cheer and perform it for everyone in the room. Excitement filled the room as the patients cheered for their hometown NFL team.

“We are so glad to be here today,” Taryn said. “We can’t wait to get to know you and for you to get to know us.”

For 9-year-old Luci Warren, the visit from the cheerleaders was a bright spot on what could have been a pretty dull birthday spent in the hospital.

“I got very excited when I found out I was going to meet them,” Luci said.

Luci’s father, Rob Warren, said being able to attend the event was a pleasant surprise, especially since it fell around his daughter’s special day.

Following the event, the cheerleaders visited patients on the 11th floor of West Tower. These patients were unable to make it to the event at the Pavilion for Women and enjoyed seeing a friendly face.

The Houston Texans Jr. Cheer Mini Camp is made possible due to an ongoing partnership Texas Children’s has with the Texans to inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives through camps, programs and events all year long. Texas Children’s works alongside the Texans through community engagement and education programs to give Houston-area kids the tools necessary to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

As a member of Texas Children’s Kangaroo Crew, Shawnaka Holland shares how her colleague’s communication and leadership skills have impacted positive outcomes in the safe transport of critically ill patients to Texas Children’s. Read more