Bella Santorum, 3, wasn't at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after all - but at a Va. facility

Rick Santorum. His campaign gave a mistaken location.
Rick Santorum. His campaign gave a mistaken location. (GLEN STUBBE / Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Posted: February 01, 2012

It turns out GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 3-year-old daughter was at a Virginia hospital over the weekend, and not at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after all.

A Santorum spokesman is blaming "confusion" for the announcement the campaign sent to news media Saturday night saying Bella Santorum had been admitted to Children's, where she receives regular care for Trisomy 18, a grave genetic disorder.

That announcement by campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley prompted a two-day stakeout by news crews, as reporters waited outside the hospital in hope that Santorum might emerge and make a statement.

Instead, Gidley said Tuesday, Santorum's daughter had been taken to a hospital in Virginia, where the former Pennsylvania senator owns a home. Gidley said he didn't know the name of the hospital.

"We apologize for the confusion," he said, "but we had no way of knowing."

Santorum's staff assumed he and Bella were at Children's and only found out differently on Sunday, and, Gidley said, the staff didn't see the point of releasing a statement clarifying the location.

The campaign has said Bella, whose full name is Isabella Maria, would recover from the pneumonia that prompted her hospital visit. Even a routine illness can be a crisis for children with Trisomy 18, who rarely survive past one year of age.

Santorum has resumed his campaign with appearances in Nevada, which holds its GOP caucus Saturday, and Colorado, where the caucus is Tuesday.


Contact staff writer Anthony Campisi at 215-854-5015, acampisi@phillynews.com,

or @campisia on Twitter.

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