- Michael D. Pitman Staff Writer
First Lady Melania Trump visited with doctors and children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on Monday as her husband met with business leaders at the Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash.
The Trumps arrived with Congressman Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, on Air Force One around 1:30 p.m. on Monday. The plane left the area at 4 p.m.
As the Ohio lawmakers and the president headed north on Interstate 71 to tout Trump’s tax cut plan — the Sheffer Corp. is one of four companies the White House is highlighting — Melania Trump headed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which is the nation’s No. 3-ranked children’s hospital according to U.S. News and World Report.
Melania Trump did not make a statement or field any questions from reporters, but she did speak with doctors at the hospital about neonatal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a newborn infant develops symptoms of withdrawal following exposure to opioids during pregnancy.
Melania Trump thanked the hospital for “a very warm and informative visit” in a statement.
“I am so grateful for your continued research on combating opioid abuse and for all you are doing for your patients,” she said. “Children will always be my top priority and I appreciated the opportunity to visit with the young patients today and witness firsthand their strength and spirit.”
The Cincinnati region, like many others in the country, has seen “a dramatic increase” in opioid abuse, Dr. James Greenberg, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Perinatal Institute co-director and Division of Neonatology director, said to the First Lady.
“Beyond the profound challenges faced by those with substance use disorders and their families, the unborn fetus is also at risk if exposed to opioids during pregnancy.”
Greenberg said that over the past eight years the Cincinnati region has seen an 8 1/2-fold increase in the rate of newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy.
“This means more than two infants a day in the Cincinnati area,” he said.
The First Lady then met the Baughman family — whose children, Cole, 8, and Maya, 5, are both patients at the Cincinnati Children’s Division of Otolaryngology — before visiting with other children at the hospital’s activity center. All of those in the activities center, including the Baughman children, were part of the hospital’s “Champions Program,” which includes families who help advance the hospital’s mission.
While in the activities center, Melania Trump made crafts, played the board game “Sorry” and played princess with a mix of children.