(DELRAY BEACH, Fla.) -- Rick Santorum made his first public comments on the health of his youngest daughter, Isabella, Sunday evening on a tele-town hall with voters, saying she has had a “miraculous turnaround.”
“She’s had a miraculous turnaround,” Santorum said on the call with Florida voters. “We have a long way to go, but she turned the corner and we are very, very grateful.”
He confirmed that his daughter, who the family calls Bella, was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs and said the family had a “very difficult 36 hours.” The former Pennsylvania senator said his daughter remains in intensive care and will be in the hospital for several more days.
Bella suffers from Trisomy 18, a rare and serious genetic disorder that kills about 90 percent of children before or during birth.
Santorum said he traveled home this weekend to attend two fundraisers and to retrieve his taxes from his home computer, but said he spent most of Friday night up with Bella, calling it a “very, very tough night.” By Saturday, she needed to be hospitalized.
“I was up with her a lot of the night,” Santorum said. “By the end of the day, it was really, really clear she was struggling.”
The campaign released a statement Saturday evening saying the 3-year-old was hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she is regularly treated, but Santorum later corrected that information saying Bella was “too fragile” to travel from their home in Virginia to Philadelphia and she was admitted to a local hospital.
On another tele-town hall with Minnesota voters later Sunday evening, Santorum said Bella’s “on the mend, really miraculously on the mend” and the family “dodged another bullet.”
He added that he’s “feeling pretty pumped” because Bella’s condition had improved in the “last six or seven hours” and she was no longer in the “very dangerous” situation she was in over the weekend.
Santorum did the two tele-town halls from his daughter’s hospital room where he said his wife, Karen, was smiling at Bella’s improvement.
His campaign cancelled a Monday morning event at an Orthodox synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., but Santorum will be back on the campaign trail Monday afternoon, scheduling events in Missouri and Minnesota.
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