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S o u t h T e x a s h e a lt h
Fall 2011
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Your Ne m!
Man’s Best Friend
Helps Healing Process
After Stroke
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South Texas Health System
Edinburg Children’s Hospital • Edinburg Regional Medical Center • Edinburg Regional Rehab Center • McAllen Heart Hospital
McAllen Medical Center • South Texas Behavioral Health Center • Cornerstone Regional Hospital
south texas health system / Health News
Tracy Hulstine and her trusted dog Cameo come to Edinburg Children’s Hospital twice per month to visit patients.
Patients with various types of ailments respond well to Cameo’s calm and friendly demeanor.
Patients’ Best Friends Heal
with Wet Noses and Wagging Tails
The 6-month-old boy reached out to
touch Cameo and cooed, surprising
the pediatric intensive care unit
nurses. The boy, who needed a
liver transplant, had not been
responsive to anybody, not even
his parents. That was until Tracy
Hulstine, a volunteer with a local
pet therapy program, stood by the
infant’s crib rocking Cameo, her
3-year-old schnauzer.
“The pets make a big difference in mood and mental
alertness, and sometimes act as a distraction.”
— Claudia Casteñeda-Lopez, ECH interim Chief Nursing Officer
“The nurse couldn’t believe it.
It was great to be part of something
so special,” Hulstine said, recalling
the experience she and Cameo had at
Edinburg Children’s Hospital (ECH).
Patients benefit from positive
interactions with pets, according to the
Delta Society, a national organization
that credentials pet therapy animals
for use in healthcare settings. Benefits
for patients include experiencing
positive physiological effects such
as decreased heart rate or blood
pressure, being mentally stimulated,
having a feeling of belonging, increasing
motivation, and creating opportunities
for empathy and nurturing as well as
entertainment and socialization.
“I see how the patients feel before
and after the dogs come to visit,”
said Claudia Casteñeda-Lopez, ECH
interim Chief Nursing Officer. “The
pets make a big difference in mood
and mental alertness, and sometimes
act as a distraction. The kids just
respond better to the clinical side
of things when we have the
animals around.”
Although they recently retired
from the local WAGS (Wonderful
Animals Giving Support)
program, Becky Cade and her
6-year-old miniature dachshund,
Tinker, had been helping
pediatric patients smile —
and heal — for four years.
Cade said that the children’s
eyes would light up when
Tinker came waggling into the
rooms. “You just let the kids
rub her belly or scratch her ears,
and it helps them relax,” she says.
Both Cade and Hulstine say they
love being a part of WAGS, which is
part of the larger Delta Society. They
put themselves and their pups through
numerous trainings to ready them for
their duties as huggable
healthcare workers. They
adhere to many rules, too, for
the health and safety of patients,
when they make their rounds on
hospital floors. For example, dogs
can’t lick patients. Instead, patients
can interact with dogs by petting,
brushing or playing ball.
The pet partners are very appreciative
that ECH was the first hospital in the
Rio Grande Valley to open its doors
for them to do their work.
“It makes perfect sense to welcome
man’s best friend in our facilities,”
says Linda Resendez, Chief Executive
Officer of ECH and ERMC. “Pets
interact with patients and provide
an outlet for an escape from the
challenges of recovery.”
Volunteer with Your
Furry Friend
Do you and your pet have
what it takes to brighten a child’s day?
For information on how to become a pet
partner, please visit www.deltasociety.org
or call WAGS president Denise Silcox at
956-458-7376 or [email protected]
Upper Right: Tracy Hulstine and Cameo
pose for a portrait. Middle Left: Pet
partners make their rounds through the
Edinburg Children’s Hospital, stopping
in the playroom. Lower Right: Cameo
spots a patient in the hallway needing
some TLC.
Good Night,
Sleep Tight …
Even with Asthma
south texas health system / Health News
If there’s anything worse than asthma
during the day, it’s asthma during the
night. Unfortunately, it is common.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the
breathing tubes that affects more than
22 million Americans, according to
the National Heart, Lung and Blood
Institute. Asthma cannot be cured,
but it can be managed with
medications and by identifying
common “triggers,” or things that
bring on an asthma attack.
PM Asthma
Often, asthma worsens while you
sleep because the lungs’ ability to
move air dips slightly in the wee
hours of the morning. “The airways
may become more swollen and
sensitive to triggers,” said Carlos
Carrillo, CRT, Director of
Respiratory at Edinburg Regional
Medical Center and Edinburg
Children’s Hospital.
Certain factors may add to the
problem. Some people experience
gastroesophageal reflux disease
(GERD) when lying down, in which
stomach contents rise up into the
esophagus, causing irritation. An allergic
reaction caused by dust mites in bedding
could also set off asthma symptoms.
Rest Easier
It’s important to tell your doctor if
asthma wakes you up more than one
or two nights a month. These steps
could give your bedtime story a
happy ending:
•Seek treatment for GERD, if you
think it is an issue. It may help to
avoid eating right before bedtime
and staying away from spicy foods,
such as garlic, onions, fried foods,
coffee, chocolate, tomatoes and
citrus fruits. Weight control and
keeping your head slightly raised
during sleep can help, too.
•Asthma-proof your home. Try
using allergen-proof covers on
your mattress and linens, and keep
pollutants, such as cigarette smoke,
outside. Ventilate your home well
and clean air filters regularly.
Know When to Go to the
Emergency Department (ED)
Good asthma control can help you
avoid the ED. However, it is
important to know when symptoms
get so severe that you need to seek
medical attention. If your medications
are not working, if wheezing or chest
tightness is present or if you cannot
walk or talk because of difficulty
breathing, these may be possible signs
that you need help.
The Asthma Program at Edinburg
Children’s Hospital is the only in
Texas to be certified by The Joint
The hospital has dedicated
asthma rooms designed to minimize
children’s anxiety. Physicians,
nurses and respiratory therapists
provide personalized care. For
more information, please visit
Surgery Helps Officer Conquer
Life-Long Weight Problem
Robert Rivera, 34, always struggled with his weight, but it spiraled out of
control after he was married and gained 180 pounds. Eventually, Rivera
tipped the scales at 430 pounds.
“I had high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and gastric reflux — all
obesity-related,” he said. Rivera didn’t have the stamina to play with his
children and worried about keeping up with the demands of his new
position as supervisor at a local law enforcement agency.
“I was too young to be this big,” he said. “Dieting never worked
because I’d gain the weight back. I knew I needed help.”
After attending an informational seminar hosted by the Weight-Loss
Surgery Center at McAllen Heart Hospital, Rivera decided bariatric surgery,
also known as weight-loss surgery, was his best option. On July 19, 2010,
Dr. Ernesto Garza Jr. performed a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure on
Rivera that limited the amount of food he can eat and absorb.
“The care I received was superb,” Rivera said. Rivera changed his
eating habits and started exercising six days a week. In less than a year,
he lost 190 pounds. He dropped from size 56 to size 34 pants, and his
obesity-related health problems disappeared.
“Everything has changed,” Rivera said. “I’m in the best shape of my
life. I have more energy to play with my kids and do my job. I feel great
about my body and myself. And by doing this, I know I’ll be here to take
care of my family for a long time.”
Are You a Candidate?
Is weight-loss surgery right for you? To learn more, please call
the Weight-Loss Surgery Center at 956-664-1616 or visit
Robert Rivera has lost 190 pounds
with the help of bariatric surgery
performed by Dr. Ernesto Garza Jr.
at the Weight-Loss Surgery Center
at McAllen Heart Hospital.
Exceptional Care at
Weight-Loss Surgery Center
The Weight-Loss Surgery Center at McAllen
Heart Hospital provides comprehensive
services to support patients before, during
and after weight-loss surgery. The center
offers five surgical options — laparoscopic
gastric bypass, laparoscopic gastric banding,
laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, gastric
plication and revision surgery.
The American Society for Metabolic and
Bariatric Surgery has named McAllen Heart
Hospital a Bariatric Surgery Center of
Excellence® for its successful patient outcomes.
Experience and the support received after
surgery are what sets McAllen Heart Hospital’s
program apart from others in the region.
“There’s no substitute for experience with
bariatric surgery,” said Dr. Luis Reyes, the
program’s medical director. He and Dr. Ernesto
Garza Jr. have performed more than 2,000
bariatric procedures over the past 10 years.
“We average 400 surgeries a year —
among the busiest programs in the area.”
Two of the certified bariatric nurses on
staff at the Weight-Loss Surgery Center have
been on the weight-loss surgery journey
themselves, too, making them uniquely
qualified to offer support.
“We have a comprehensive program with
nutrition classes, medically supervised diets
and monthly support groups,” says
Paula Kilgore, RN, CBN, Program Director.
“We really want our patients to succeed not
just from a physical standpoint, but also
mentally and emotionally. This well-rounded
approach is why our patients continue to
succeed and keep the weight off long term.”
McAllen Family Medicine
Residency Program
Welcomes First-Year Residents
south texas health system / Health News
McAllen Medical Center welcomes six new
students to its Family Medicine Residency Program,
a three-year physician training program. These
first-year residents will get hands-on medical
training from the program’s teaching doctors and
local physicians as they make rounds at McAllen
Medical Center and at an area clinic serving
uninsured and underinsured patients. The program
was established in 1977 with the goal of training
and educating family medicine doctors for South
Texas. Our residents are trained in preventative
and medical care, emergency medicine, pediatric
services, obstetrics and more.
We welcome our new residents to the
South Texas Health System family!
Dr. Eduardo Candanosa
Dr. Gabriela Walsman
Dr. Isaac Andrade
Dr. Juan Menchaca
Dr. Maritza Garza
Dr. Vladimir Semilla
Spotlight on
Regional Hospital
Cornerstone Regional Hospital is a facility focused on meeting
your expectations for healthcare excellence. Our hospital has
14 patient suites, which gives us the ability to extend highly
personalized healthcare to help you.
At Cornerstone Regional Hospital we believe in establishing
caring and professional relationships with our patients and their
families. We encourage family interaction with physicians and
staff in our family-oriented, homelike environment.
Through ongoing physician leadership and a dedicated staff,
Cornerstone Regional Hospital has achieved excellent clinical
outcomes in its continuing quest to provide
high quality patient care.
Cornerstone is an acute care hospital and offers the following
hospital services:
• Inpatient care
• Laboratory
• Outpatient surgery
• Pharmacy
• Diagnostics
• Emergency services
• X-ray
Areas of specific expertise include:
• Orthopedics
•Reconstructive and
• General Surgery
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
• Neurological Surgery
• Oral and Maxillofacial
• Pain Management
• Dentistry
• Occupational Medicine
• Urology
• Ophthalmology
• Gynecology
• Podiatry
• Gastroenterology
Primary care services include:
• Internal Medicine
• Family Practice
• Pediatrics
Cornerstone Regional Hospital is a South Texas Health System facility.
For more information, please call us at 956-618-4444 or visit
This hospital is co-owned with physician investors.
Bright Vista Helps Patients
Overcome Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs can at times
be very severe, uncomfortable and even life-threatening
without professional help. Significant medical withdrawal
problems such as delirium tremors, itchy skin, vomiting,
anxiety, hallucinations and convulsions are enough to
discourage even the strongest willed person to give up the
fight or not even take that first step toward sobriety.
McAllen Medical Center has launched a new program
— the first of its kind in South Texas — called Bright Vista,
a medical stabilization service for those who have chosen
to overcome their dependency on drugs or alcohol.
Medical stabilization is the first step toward complete
recovery. Bright Vista patients receive the medical attention
necessary to make withdrawal manageable, lessen
symptoms dramatically and prepare them so they can
succeed in their next phase of treatment.
“This is not a detox program, nor is it a behavioral
therapy program,” said Sandra Hulsey, Bright Vista RN/
Case Manager. “This is the very first step — getting
well — so that all the other kinds of healing, the
psychological, spiritual or family relationship types
of healing, can occur.”
Confidentiality is a key component to the
program. “While there are other facilities that offer
medical stabilization programs, they are not done
in an acute care hospital in a mainstream setting.
There are often other mandatory components to
those other programs, such as group counseling
or confinement to a certain wing or floor,” said
Monique Maynez, Bright Vista Program
Coordinator. “Bright Vista focuses on
the medical condition of the
patient and helps the
patient find ease and
comfort in their
recovery process.
Participants are
provided with
a private room on
a medical floor.
The program is
structured to navigate around the busy schedules of
individuals and can assist anyone from executives to
retirees striving to maintain anonymity.”
A typical stay at McAllen Medical Center in the
Bright Vista program is three days. Once accepted into the
program, patients are treated using medications to prevent
them from slipping into acute withdrawal.
Before leaving the hospital, patients receive comprehensive,
tailored discharge plans and referrals to aftercare programs
that can help patients stay on track for the remaining part
of their journey.
Compassionate Care is Here
To set up a confidential consultation, please contact
Sandra Husley at 956-971-5680, Monday through
Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Therapy a ‘Limb-Saver ’
south texas health system / Health News
for Diabetic Patient
For Javier Anes, not having the right healthcare information
literally almost cost him his leg.
Anes thought he would have to get his limb amputated.
A diabetic foot wound had become so infected that Anes
had to be hospitalized. Doctors said it couldn’t be saved.
Just when he and his family had come to terms with losing
his limb, Anes met with Norma Terry, the director of the
McAllen Medical Center’s Wound Care Center, for a second
opinion. She told him through aggressive hyperbaric oxygen
therapy (HBOT), his limb could be salvaged.
HBOT is delivered by placing patients in an enclosed
chamber that is filled with 100 percent oxygen.
The increased, concentrated oxygen delivered to cells
helps encourage the growth of new blood vessels which
helps speed the healing process
and treats specific medical
conditions such as diabetic
foot ulcers, infections of bone,
“I am almost
tissue damage caused by
totally healed, but radiation therapy and carbon
I would have lost monoxide poisoning.
The Wound Care Center
my leg if I hadn’t
recently added a third chamber
come in for the
to meet its rapidly growing
treatment here.” patient population. Patient
— Javier Anes comfort is a priority at the
Wound Care Center. Patients
can lie down in the clear tube and watch television, listen
to music or sleep while undergoing HBOT.
“The treatment is not right for everybody,” Terry said.
“It’s not for people who are claustrophobic or those with
serious heart failure or lung disease. But for those stubborn
wounds that won’t heal, HBOT is a great outpatient option.”
A year after starting treatments, Anes still has his leg.
“I am almost totally healed,” he said, “but I would have
lost my leg if I hadn’t come in for the treatment here.”
Top: An empty hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber awaits its
next patient. Middle: Norma Terry removes a patient from a
weekly session inside the oxygen-filled chamber at the
Wound Care Center at McAllen Medical Center.
Bottom: A patient relaxes with a drink and his favorite television
program while undergoing HBOT.
Start the Healing
To learn more about HBOT treatments, please call
McAllen Medical Center’s Wound Care Center at
More than 80 million Americans
have some form of heart disease.*
Know your chances … improve your odds. Visit the Heart Clinic location nearest you.
Office consultations and
diagnostic studies
Luis E. Padula, MD, FACC
McAllen / Rio Grande City
Eric Taylor, MD, FACC
Electrophysiology consultations
and diagnostic procedures
Carlos Pimentel, MD, FACC
Dileep Menon, MD
Juan Diego Posada, MD, FACC
Carlos Giraldo, MD
Ofsman Quintana, MD, FACC
McAllen / Mission
Lester Dyke, MD
Hospital-based consultations
and diagnostic procedures
with this coupon
This certificate entitles you to a FREE blood pressure
test and cholesterol screening at Heart Clinic.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Clinic Hours:
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Six convenient locations:
Martha Cano, MD, Family Medicine
WESLACO • 956.969.5995
Juan G. Castillo, MD, Family Medicine
ALTON • 956.424.7655
Maria Coimbra, MD, Family Medicine / Obstetrics
MCALLEN • 956.992.0730
Sandra Urrego, MD, Family Medicine
MISSION • 956.585.6622
Estela Cedilo, FNP-BC, Family Practice / Prenatal Care
HIDALGO • 956.843.5191
Sarah Rodriguez, MD, Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat)
EDINBURG • 956.381.6856
Adult Care
Diabetes, hypertension,
hyperlipidemia and related diseases
General Dermatology
Geriatric Care
GYN Services
Family Counseling
Minor Surgeries
Obstetric Care
Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat)
Pediatric Care
Preventive Medicine
Urgent Care
Weight Management
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, South Texas Health System is
pleased to offer a special discounted rate.
Coupon is valid through 12-31-11!
Digital Annual
Screening Mammogram*
• Free for Medicare patients or if covered by your
insurance plan
• $60 if not covered by any insurance plan
Please bring this coupon with you to registration
to receive this special discount.
Edinburg Regional Medical Center
McAllen Medical Center
*Physician’s order required.
New Digital Mammography Units
south texas health system / Health News
Offer Faster,More Accurate Results
An annual mammogram for women over 40 can be your
best defense against breast cancer, but many women are
reluctant to get one perhaps because they are not aware of
the advances in imaging technology that produce quicker
and more accurate results in greater comfort and safety.
With digital mammography, a radiologist views digital
images of the breast instead of images on film. These
electronic images are clearer and viewed on monitors so
that the physician can adjust the brightness, contrast or
zoom in on areas where potential problem spots may
be lurking.
These images are taken and can be manipulated in a
matter of seconds, rather than waiting for film to develop.
That means results are available more quickly. The need
for multiple rescans are often eliminated. Routine screening mammograms take only about five minutes.
Many women avoid mammograms because the exam
itself, which requires compressing the breast between two
paddles, is uncomfortable. The digital mammography
system has a unique “smart paddle” design that adjusts to
the natural contour of the breast, providing uniform
compression and a more comfortable exam.
Lastly, the digital mammography system delivers less
radiation than traditional mammography without sacrificing
image quality. This is especially important for women who
receive frequent mammograms, because their cumulative
radiation dose is decreased.
Digital mammography is available at Edinburg Regional
Medical Center (ERMC) and McAllen Medical Center
(MMC). Schedule your appointment today by calling
956-388-6730 for ERMC or 956-632-4138 for MMC.
Pre-register at 956-388-2190.
Active McAllen Employee Rebounds
After Stroke Scare
Beatriz Rodriguez, 49, is a healthy eater, a regular biker
and avid walker, so on April 29, 2011, she was shocked
to become a stroke patient. The Medical Staff Coordinator
at South Texas Health System was in a meeting at
McAllen Medical Center that day when she suddenly
couldn’t speak and lost control of the right side of her body,
causing her to slump in her seat.
A coworker suspected a stroke and called for
immediate assistance.
The Emergency Department staff quickly examined
Rodriguez and performed tests that confirmed she was
suffering from an ischemic stroke. “I couldn’t believe it,”
she said. “I eat right and exercise. I thought I was healthy.”
Prompt Treatment
Is Essential
Minutes count when
“Timing was everything. a stroke strikes.
I received the right care Rodriguez was lucky
to be at the hospital
right away and that
when she suffered a
made a big difference.” stroke. Doctors were
— Beatriz Rodriguez able to administer a
medication that
dissolves clots in the brain and restores blood flow. This
medication has to be given within three hours after stroke
symptoms start.
But others may not be so lucky to be at the right place
at the right time. That is why it is so important to call 911
immediately if you or someone you are with show possible
stroke symptoms such as facial drooping, sudden severe
headaches or blurred vision, loss of balance, tingling or
numbness in the arms or sudden confusion.
“Timing was everything,” Rodriguez said. “I received
the right care right away and that made a big difference.”
South Texas Health System employee Beatriz Rodriguez is active
once again after suffering from a stroke and receiving care at
McAllen Medical Center.
Safeguard Your Health
Although Rodriguez had a healthy lifestyle, she didn’t
see a doctor unless she was sick. So she didn’t realize she
had high cholesterol — a significant risk factor for stroke.
“People shouldn’t take chances with their health,”
Rodriguez said. “It’s important for them to get routine
tests even if they think they’re healthy.”
Rodriguez is recovered and back at work. She now
takes medication to control her cholesterol.
“No one can believe I had a stroke,” she said. “I’ve
recovered 100 percent. I still ride my bike and walk.
And I plan to train for a half-marathon this fall.”
South Texas Health System has the only certified Stroke Centers in the Upper Valley area — McAllen Medical Center and
Edinburg Regional Medical Center (ERMC). This designation means that our stroke programs are noted for exceptional
efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke patients. For more information, please call McAllen Medical Center at
956-632-4000 or ERMC at 956-388-6000.
Prsrt std
U.S. Postage
South Texas
Health System
c/o Marketing Department
1400 W. Trenton Road
Edinburg, TX 78539
Visit our website at www.southtexashealthsystem.com.
Give Your Kids a Treat
Embrace autumn by bringing your family to the annual Edinburg Children’s
Hospital Kids Advantage Festival on Friday, Oct. 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. near the
main entrance of Edinburg Children’s Hospital.
Children and parents alike will enjoy carnival rides, goodies and music.
Attendees can also visit various booths and are encouraged to wear their own
Halloween costume to the event.
Take part in the many games at the festival, including a mummy wrap,
pumpkin toss, spider toss, Fear Factor and a cake walk. In addition, children
can get their face painted to get in the festival spirit. And don’t forget your
camera to take some special pictures in the photo area.
Join the Kids Advantage program and put your child’s health information on
file at Edinburg Children’s Hospital. Benefits include speedy registration in the
Emergency Department, access to wellness programs and discounts in gift shops
and cafeterias.
Become a Member Today!
Enroll in the Kids Advantage program by visiting www.edinburgchildrenshospital.com
or calling 1-800-879-1033.
Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz, Chairman
South Texas Health System Board
of Governors
Douglas A. Matney, Group Vice President
South Texas Health System
Joe Riley, Chief Executive Officer
McAllen Medical Center
Linda Resendez, Chief Executive Officer
Edinburg Regional Medical Center/
Edinburg Children’s Hospital/
Edinburg Regional Rehab Center
Mike Adams, Chief Operations Officer
McAllen Heart Hospital
Joe Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer
South Texas Behavioral Health Center
Alma Medina, Chief Executive Officer
Cornerstone Regional Hospital
Information in Health News comes from a
wide range of medical experts. If you have any
concerns or questions about specific content
that may affect your health, please contact
your healthcare provider. Some images in this
publication were provided by ©2011 PhotoDisc,
Inc. All rights reserved. Any opinions expressed
by an author whose article appears in this
publication are solely the opinions of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the views of South
Texas Health System or UHS of Delaware, Inc.
Physicians mentioned in this publication are on
the medical staff of South Texas Health System
but, with limited exceptions, are independent
practitioners who are not employees or agents
of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall
not be liable for actions or treatments provided
by physicians. ©2011. All rights reserved. Printed
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