Washington, DC—First Lady Michelle Obama visited patients and staff at Children’s National Medical Center today, an annual tradition dating back more than 60 years to First Lady Bess Truman. Mrs. Obama was accompanied by the family dog Bo.
Watch the Extended Video: First Lady Visits Children's National 2011 (Extended Version)
Mrs. Obama toured the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit, where she met patients and families, as well as doctors, nurses, and other Children’s National staff.
Following her tour, Mrs. Obama arrived in the Atrium, where she was greeted by many patients, families, board members, and staff. In the Atrium, Mrs. Obama read the classic The Night Before Christmas. Once she finished, children asked the First Lady questions about her holiday traditions. Flutists from the Levine School of Music provided musical entertainment.
Throughout her visit, Mrs. Obama was escorted by two long-time patients, Ashley Reimer, 19 and Romauld Vital, 8. Ashley receives treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML); Romauld also receives treatment for leukemia through the Oncology Division at Children’s National.
“We are pleased that Mrs. Obama has continued the longstanding tradition for First Ladies to visit the nation’s children’s hospital, bringing joy to our patients and staff,” said Kurt D. Newman, MD, President and CEO at Children’s National.
The Chief of Neonatology, Billie Short, MD, greeted the First Lady in the NICU. She noted: “We care for some of the sickest children in our critical care units, so to have such a special visitor during the holidays is an incredible treat and opportunity for everyone.”
As the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, John Snyder, MD, welcomed Mrs. Obama to the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and noted, “Mrs. Obama’s unflagging commitment to children’s health is commendable and we appreciate her taking the time out of her schedule to meet with our patients, families, and staff.”
Children’s National Medical Center is located less than four miles from the White House and is the exclusive provider of pediatric care in the Washington Metropolitan area. The Intestinal Rehabilitation Program provides individualized, comprehensive medical, dietary and surgical treatment for children with intestinal failure. Patients in this unit experience intestinal failure due to short bowel syndrome, neuromuscular diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract, and congenital diseases of the intestinal epithelium. The NICU is a 54-bed unit, and received the highest distinction (Level IIIC) from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It was also recently named one of the top 10 neonatal units by US News and World Report.
Contact: Emily Dammeyer or Paula Darte: 202-476-4500