For Campbell, "Excellent Care Coupled with Laughter" Was the Best Medicine

Shortly after Grace Smith gave birth to her youngest child, Campbell Smith, neonatologists and cardiologists at Children’s National entered her room to share some sobering news: Campbell had been born with Transposition of the Great Arteries, a congenital heart defect in which the position of the pulmonary and aortic arteries is reversed. The newborn who she had barely had time to hold would need open heart surgery.

Over the next several days, the Children’s National team and the Smith family geared up for Campbell’s first big procedure. Though life was anything but normal during this time, Grace and Campbell stoically did what most parents of a newborn do. They held their son, fed him bottles, and sang to him. “We’d never felt so helpless,” Grace said. “But the next morning, a cardiologist from Children’s National called us, reassuring us that Campbell would most likely be okay.”

On the day of the surgery, Grace felt nervous but well supported by the Children’s National team. After four long hours, cardiologist Dr. Richard Jonas appeared. The surgery had gone well. “Dr. Jonas made it look so easy,” Grace said. “You would never know he had just saved a life.”

While Campbell slept in the ICU, his parents were greeted in the waiting room by another staff member, Dr. Craig Futterman. As it was Halloween, Dr. Futterman stopped by wearing a two-foot-tall, bright blue Marge Simpson wig as he calmly delivered the details of Campbell’s recovery. Just behind Dr. Futterman, a nurse dressed in full ladybug regalia welcomed the next patient family through the door. Today, Campbell is a thriving 3-year-old boy, full of energy. Grace said, “Children’s National is a phenomenal place. Medical expertise is delivered with the healing hand of humor. And I believe that excellent pediatric care coupled with laughter really is the best medicine.”

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