PALO ALTO, Calif. — A nurse at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California, had a heartwarming reunion with a premature baby she helped care for when he returned to the hospital as a pediatric resident 28 years later. Probably the most unusual part of the story, though, is Vilma Wong actually remembered Brandon Seminatore and recognized his name.
"His last name sounded very familiar," Wong told the Mercury News.
Seminatore, a second-year pediatric resident, was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit about three weeks ago, according to a post on the hospital’s Facebook page, when Wong asked him who he was.
"I kept asking where he was from and he told me that he was from San Jose, California, and that, as a matter of fact, he was a premature baby born at our hospital. I then got very suspicious because I remember being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name,'' Wong told the newspaper.
Wong asked if his father was a police officer, and after a stunned silence, Seminatore asked if she was Vilma.
The young resident said he was shocked when he realized Wong was the primary care nurse who helped keep him alive all those years ago.
"Meeting Vilma was a surreal experience," he said in a hospital statement. "When Vilma recognized my name, it truly sunk in that I was one of these babies. I've come full-circle and I'm taking care of babies with the nurse that took care of me."
Seminatore weighed just 2 pounds and 6 ounces when he was born by emergency C-section at 29 weeks gestation in 1990 and spent 40 days in the NICU, according to hospital officials.
Seminatore immediately alerted his parents, who had attended annual NICU reunions at the hospital over the years, that he had run into Wong.
Seminatore's mother, Laura Seminatore, called Wong and her colleagues "the most wonderful nurses," and told the Mercury News "they helped calm a lot of fears."
Her son said he realized after meeting her how much dedication and love Wong has for her career.
“She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later. Not all of us will get the chance to see our patients grow up, and I was so happy to be able to share that moment with her,” Brandon Seminatore said.
Wong, who has been working as a nurse for 32 years and has no plans to retire, told the Mercury News that she was overjoyed meeting Brandon Seminatore for the second time.
“As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward.”
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