It seemed a stroke of fate when one nurse from Palo Alto, California got to reunite with one of the premature babies she cared for 28 years ago in the very same hospital where it all started.
Vilma Wong, a nurse at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, recently crossed paths with Brandon Seminatore, a medical resident at the hospital who’s training to be a child neurologist.
Twenty years ago, when Seminatore was born, he weighed only 2 pounds and 6 ounces. As reported by The East Bay Times on Sept. 3, Seminatore spent more than 40 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with a breathing tube, where he was cared for by Wong.
The encounter between the two was shared on Facebook last Aug. 16 by the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. In the post, the page shared a photo of a young Wong cradling the infant Seminatore on her lap. In another photo, Wong and Seminatore can be seen posing next to each other inside the hospital, both wearing their scrubs.
“A chance encounter at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has led to a heart warming reunion between nurse and patient,” the page stated. “Brandon, one of our pediatric residents, was born 28 years ago in our NICU — then just 29 weeks old. Vilma was his primary care nurse.”
Almost 30 years have passed since that fateful moment, but Wong was far from forgetting the little baby she cared for. As per report, all medical residents were required to check in at the nurse’s station before examining the premature babies in the NICU. It was here when Wong spotted Seminatore and asked him who he was.
“His last name sounded very familiar,” Wong was quoted as saying. “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.’’
Seminatore, however, looks far removed from the tiny premature infant that once had been under Wong’s care. Today, he stands at 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 134 pounds, although still bears the same eyes and expression. For him, meeting Wong was a “surreal experience.”
Seminatore said, “She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later.’’
As for Wong? She considers meeting Seminatore for the second time the payoff of her mission. She said in the report, “As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward.” Cody Cepeda/JB