WASHINGTON – In a break from his chamber's often acrid political divisions, a choked-up House Speaker John Boehner prompted two bipartisan standing ovations on Wednesday when he praised the doctor who helped a congresswoman's infant survive a rare fetal condition.
Lawmakers reacted warmly after Boehner, R-Ohio, interrupted votes on education legislation to introduce Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. The 35-year-old lawmaker stood up, holding and hugging her year-old baby, Abigail Rose.
He then introduced Dr. Jessica Bienstock, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies at Johns Hopkins University and was in the chamber's visitors' gallery.
While in the womb, the baby was diagnosed with Potter syndrome. That meant she lacked kidneys, which often results in under-developed lungs and nearly always causes newborns to quickly suffocate.
The baby's development improved after Bienstock injected saline into the congresswoman's womb.
"If she's a happy, healthy miracle, Dr. Bienstock is the miracle worker who helped give the gift of help and life to this family," Boehner said.
Abigail was born two months premature without kidneys and spent her first five months in intensive care. She is on dialysis and will need a transplant.