Accessibility links

Breaking News

Melania Trump Visits Babies, Moms Affected by Opioid Crisis 


First lady Melania Trump speaks during a visit to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Oct. 17, 2018.

First lady Melania Trump toured an intensive care ward for newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal at a Philadelphia hospital on Wednesday, after being delayed by a mechanical problem on her plane.

The plane carrying Trump was forced to return to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington when smoke was detected in the cabin 10 minutes after takeoff. A second plane took the first lady to Philadelphia later in the day.

Trump attended a conference at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, which for more than 45 years has been treating pregnant women and mothers addicted to opioids and their babies.

She said there were few things harder than seeing a newborn suffering from opioid withdrawal, and that she wanted to shine a light on the issue.

"As the caretakers of the next generation, it is our responsibility to protect our most valuable and vulnerable — our children,'' she said.

After visiting the neonatal unit, the first lady also visited the babies' mothers, who are enrolled in the hospital's addition treatment program.

The visit to Philadelphia is one of many planned to promote Trump's "Be Best'' campaign, which focuses on issues affecting children.

VOA's Steve Herman contributed to this report.