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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden spend time with kids in the hospital at Christmas

December 23, 2022

10-month-old Bella was born with a congenital heart defect and has spent her whole life inside the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Children’s National Hospital. Her mom Destiny Casbon, of Front Royal, VA, had the opportunity to share her daughter’s story this afternoon with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

The First Lady visits are an annual tradition that dates back more than 75 years to Bess Truman, who stopped by to see families who couldn’t spend their holidays at home. This is the second time President Biden has joined his wife for the visit.

"This past year my family and I have been through so many medical challenges with our youngest, and to get a chance to share our journey with the President and First Lady today was so uplifting and encouraging," said Destiny Casbon. “This time of year can be especially hard when you have a child in the hospital, which makes the visit even more special.”

During the visit, the President and First Lady met with several families in the hospital’s CICU and also toured the telehealth command center to learn about the cutting-edge technology used to keep continuous watch over the most fragile children with critical heart disease.

They also took time to thank hospital staff, including healthcare workers from the hospital’s Emergency Department.

“We are honored that the President and First Lady took the time to visit with members of our Emergency Department,” said Joelle Simpson, M.D., division chief of Emergency Medicine at Children’s National. “It was a very pleasant surprise for our team to be recognized as they continue to work tirelessly through this holiday season.”

The First Lady read “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats to a small group of patients who gathered in front of a Christmas tree. The entire visit was also streamed by Seacrest Studios to every inpatient room.

Media contact: Public Relations Team | 202-476-4500 

About Children’s National Hospital

Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1870 to help every child grow up stronger. Today, it is the No. 5 children’s hospital in the nation. It is ranked No. 1 for newborn care for the sixth straight year and ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a first-of-its-kind pediatric hub dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for kids. Children’s National has been designated three times in a row as a Magnet® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty care locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. As a non-profit, Children's National relies on generous donors to help ensure that every child receives the care they need.

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