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Giving Brianna Life

In September 2019, Brianna was born premature at 34 weeks with several serious complications. She had a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18 and congenital heart defects. Her parents knew from prenatal testing that her heart eventually would need repair. However, doctors in our affiliated neonatal intensive care unit at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg worried about something else: Brianna needed immediate surgery to correct life-threatening defects in her esophagus. They recommended Children’s National Hospital.

SkyBear, our rapid air transport system, rushed to pick up Brianna. She had surgery at 2 days old. “Children’s National did a phenomenal job,” her mom Elisabeth says. “It was obvious from how they took care of our family why they are the top NICU in the country.” Staff organized housing so the family could stay nearby. They enjoyed time in our hospital’s Bunny Mellon Healing Garden. Child Life Services staff helped Brianna’s three sisters understand her condition and stay busy with fun activities. Brianna went home for the first time just before Thanksgiving.

Four months later, Brianna returned for her heart surgery. “Her team rocked it again,” Elisabeth says. “We couldn’t have been happier with the support. It’s such a blessing to have a hospital like this in our area.”

Brianna celebrated her first birthday in September! She still has complications, but her mom says she’s doing well overall. “Statistically, many of these children don’t live to see their first birthday. She’s here today largely because of the care at Children’s National. They gave life to our daughter.”

Now, Brianna and the Scott family will serve as the local Champion at Children’s National in 2021!  They are excited to continue sharing their story, remaining connected to the hospital, and participating in opportunities to give back.