MCALLEN – Dialysis patients in the Rio Grande Valley seeking pediatric-specific care are used to laboriously long car trips to be able to undergo dialysis treatments. That is about to change, as Driscoll Children’s Hospital had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Driscoll Children’s Valley Dialysis Center on Tuesday.

Driscoll Children’s Valley Dialysis Center is a dedicated, state-of-the-art, 4,155-square foot clinic that includes four dialysis stations. Board-certified pediatric nephrologists and a board-certified pediatric surgeon who performs kidney transplants will combine with dedicated pediatric dialysis nurses, dietitians, social workers and office staff to provide the same hands-on, personal care that patients are used to receiving at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi.

Driscoll Children’s Valley Dialysis Center will complement other pediatric kidney care services provided at this location. It will be the area’s first world-class pediatric kidney care center and serve the cities of McAllen, Edinburg, Mission and Weslaco, as well as the lower Valley cities of Harlingen, San Benito, Brownsville and all the cities in between.

“There is currently a service area of approximately 1.5 million people, with about 10-15 pediatric patients per million annually diagnosed with end-stage renal disease,” said Samhar I. Al-Akash, MD, pediatric nephrologist and Medical Director of Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Kidney Center and Renal Transplant Program. “These patients need high-quality, specialized care, and thanks to our well-established and very successful dialysis and renal transplant programs, they no longer have to travel as far or live away from home in order to receive appropriate care.”

Driscoll Children’s Hospital began offering nephrology services in 1999, dialysis services in 2004 and performed the first transplant of any kind, in an adult or child, in South Texas in 2007. Today, Driscoll remains the only pediatric transplant program in South Texas and has performed 75 pediatric kidney transplants.