Lt. Gov. Patrick: Driscoll’s new RGV children’s hospital ‘an answer to prayer’

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EDINBURG — As Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley prepares to open its doors in May, hospital officials have been giving tours of the facility including Saturday, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was in town to see what’s being hailed as a new state-of-the-art pediatric institution that the region has sorely needed.

“This will be an answer to prayer. You don’t have to go to Corpus to stay overnight,” Patrick said in a Driscoll news release.

Ground was broken on the $105 million, eight-story hospital in November 2021 and is now preparing to open its doors to the community on May 1, providing services to Valley residents who prior to its opening had to travel to Driscoll in Corpus Christi for certain care.

“Now you have a place in the Valley where they can go. And their families can have hope and get the care they need. It’s really important,” Patrick said.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick shakes hands with state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa during a press conference at the Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

The new nonprofit hospital is located at 2820 W. Michelangelo Drive in Edinburg and includes three pediatric floors with 16-bed units, an ICU floor with eight beds, a pharmacy within the facility’s day surgery floor, an operating room floor with eight ORs and an emergency room floor that connects to the radiology department.

Housing 119 pediatric beds, the hospital will also include technology such as a CT machine with a 560-slice count, a translation machine that will help healthcare workers communicate with patients in any language as well as digital door signs and touch-screen whiteboards to help them stay informed about patient statuses.

The hospital will also include a neonatal intensive care unit within DHR Health Women’s Center. DHR invested $55 million in the project while Driscoll put in $50 million.

According to Driscoll, the hospital is also expected to hire 600 to 700 employees — most of whom hospital President Matt Wolthoff has said have already been employed — as well as generate $124.7 million within the local economy.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during a press conference at the Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Edinburg. Patrick got a tour of Driscoll Children’s Hospital. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

Wolthoff said in a previous news release that Driscoll representatives were excited ahead of Patrick’s visit and referred to the hospital as the Valley’s “first designated children’s hospital, a state-of-the-art facility that will transform healthcare in the Valley for generations to come.”

At a news conference Saturday, which was held at the new hospital in conjunction with Patrick’s tour, Wolthoff added, “The opening of this hospital will play a major role in improving access to specialty pediatric care for families in the Rio Grande Valley. Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley, and the many pediatric subspecialists who will work within it, represent a whole new level of service not previously available close to home.”

Driscoll CEO Eric Hamon also noted, “Our vision to never turn a child away is growing eight stories taller,” referring to the hospital floors.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, carries Tialy Martinez, 5, alongside her mother Iliana Martinez from Edinburg during a press conference at the Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Edinburg. Tialy suffers from PHACE syndrome. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

But it was Tialy Elaine Martinez who may have stolen the show. The 5-year-old Valley resident is a patient at Driscoll who was treated for PHACE syndrome, which affects the brain and heart.

Patrick held Tialy and smiled on Saturday as he held up a sketch of the new hospital where he then stood. Her mother, Iliana Martinez, stood close by and shared their ordeal.

“We had to travel to Driscoll in Corpus, it was a very challenging moment because we had to leave our families and our home and stay for more than four months in Corpus,” Iliana said in a statement issued by Driscoll. “Having our very own Driscoll here in the Rio Grande Valley is just a blessing … we are so glad, we are so happy that we have our very own Driscoll that we can call home from now on.”