At Shriners Hospitals for Children, the health and safety of our patients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. With the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we are closely monitoring updates from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are actively following their recommendations.

If your child has an upcoming appointment, please contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia visitor information.

Skip to navigation

What we're up to

news News Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 1:14 PM - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 1:14 PM

Santa pays a virtual visit to the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital

Thanks to telehealth technology, patients talk with Santa remotely

Santa pays a virtual visit to the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital

Santa can be busy this time of year, but thanks to global technology services and solutions provider Dimension Data, the big man himself was able to visit with patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia.

Using telehealth video technology that helps our physicians reach patients who live too far to visit the hospital, Santa was able to chat with patients and their families remotely from the North Pole.

Staff at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital transformed the hospital’s resource room into a winter wonderland with lights, stockings, a faux fireplace and even a snow machine. Patients spent some one-on-one time with Santa, viewing him on a large, high-definition screen. Santa knew each child by name and spoke with them about their wishes for the holiday season.

“It’s such a special day here when Santa visits,” said Stephanie Byrwa, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia marketing and communications manager. “It really is so magical and it’s such a unique experience for these patients.”

In addition to visiting with Santa, our patients spent the afternoon creating holiday crafts from around the world, enjoying hot cocoa and cookies, and bonding with special service dogs and puppies in training who were prepared to replace Santa’s reindeer if necessary. Patients also received gift bags sent from Santa, which were distributed by hospital staff and volunteers who served as Santa’s elves for the day.

“It means a lot them,” said Terry, mom to patient Jacob, who met with Santa. “They don’t know if they’re going to be home for Santa, so to see him and know that he’ll still be able to find them in the hospital, it means a lot.”

What did Jacob ask from Santa? “A million puppies!”

Family visiting with Santa via telehealth system