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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Tours New Driscoll Children’s Hospital in South Texas

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Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick touring Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Photo by Abel Riojas
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick touring Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Photo by Abel Riojas
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By Roberto Hugo González

On April 20, 2024, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made a significant visit to South Texas, attending a press conference in anticipation of the grand opening of the Driscoll Children’s Hospital. The event marked a significant milestone with the upcoming launch of the hospital in Edinburg, an initiative set to reshape pediatric healthcare in the region.

Texas Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa. Image Roberto Hugo González

Lt. Gov. Patrick toured the new facility along with notable figures such as Texas Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Guy Bailey, President of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Val LaMantia of L&F Distributors, Senator Charles Schwertner, MD, and Alonzo Cantu, Chairman of the Board of Lone Star National Bank. This gathering of influential leaders highlighted the community and statewide support for the substantial healthcare investment in South Texas.

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The Driscoll Children’s Hospital represents a significant commitment to the health and welfare of children in Texas. With an investment of over $100 million, the new eight-story hospital will open its doors on May 1, 2024, equipped with 119 pediatric beds and staffed by more than 600 employees. From its first day, the hospital will provide emergency care and pediatric specialty services, aiming to become a cornerstone of community health infrastructure.

Guy Bailey, President of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Image Roberto Hugo González

The economic implications of this new hospital are profound. Projected to generate $124.7 million annually, the facility will enhance healthcare and contribute significantly to local economic growth, demonstrating the intertwined nature of health and economic prosperity.

During the press conference, Senator Hinojosa introduced Lt. Gov. Patrick, reflecting on their long-standing professional relationship and Patrick’s commendable political trajectory. First elected to the Texas Senate in 2006 and later as Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Patrick has been a dynamic force in Texas politics, particularly emphasizing economic growth, job creation, and family security.

Senator Hinojosa highlighted Lt. Gov. Patrick’s specific contributions to healthcare and infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley, noting his ability to blend firmness in negotiation with a compassionate approach towards children’s healthcare needs. 

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Alonzo Cantu, Chairman of the Board of Lone Star National Bank. Image Roberto Hugo González

This visit not only emphasized the state’s commitment to enhancing pediatric healthcare but also showcased the efforts of state leaders to foster environments that support their communities’ health and economic well-being.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick offered a heartfelt response to Sen. Hinojosa’s introduction. Expressing his gratitude, Lt. Gov. Patrick commended the combined efforts that have significantly propelled healthcare and infrastructure developments in the region.

In a lighthearted moment, Lt. Gov. Patrick shared a personal story about Sen. Hinojosa and a memorable dance with his mother at a Senate gala, humorously noting, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in 17 years without his hat. I thought there was hair there.” This anecdote highlighted the friendship and longstanding relationships among Texas’s leaders.

Val LaMantia of L&F Distributors. Image Roberto Hugo González

Lt. Gov. Patrick also took a moment to appreciate Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD, for his crucial role as the chair of the business and commerce committee. He emphasized his contributions to securing necessary funding for healthcare initiatives as vice chair of finance. He acknowledged the efforts of former finance chairs, particularly mentioning Senator Eddie Lucio’s personal family challenges.

Discussing his enduring commitment to children with disabilities, Lt. Gov. Patrick outlined his work with beingAngel.org since 1988. He detailed the organization’s accomplishments in supporting thousands of children, building inclusive playgrounds, and providing various essential aids to families in need.

Reflecting on recent advancements in mental health care, Patrick highlighted his statewide tour and the establishment of six new mental health hospitals. He emphasized the importance of including the Rio Grande Valley in these expansions to ensure comprehensive care reaches every corner of the state.

Lt. Gov. Patrick also shared his deep affection for the Rio Grande Valley, recognizing its cultural richness and the essential needs spurred by its rapid growth. He articulated a vision for continued development and collaboration to ensure the valley’s success and adequately meet the increasing demands of its expanding population.

Matt Wolthoff, president of Driscoll Children’s Hospital RGV. Image Roberto Hugo González

Drawing inspiration from historian David McCullough, Patrick engaged in philosophical reflection on the nature of history and the significant, often unpredictable impacts of past actions on the future. He encouraged the community to recognize their role in shaping history through their current efforts.

Matt Wolthoff, president of Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley, thanked Lt. Gov. Patrick for his visit and insights. He and Senators Hinojosa and Schwertner invited him to tour the new hospital facilities. This was a day of celebration and forward-looking discussions on healthcare in South Texas.

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