US nurse discovers colleague was baby she cared for

After almost 30 years, Ms Vilma Wong, 54, reunited with Dr Brandon Seminatore, 28, at the very hospital where it all started, and where they are now colleagues.
After almost 30 years, Ms Vilma Wong, 54, reunited with Dr Brandon Seminatore, 28, at the very hospital where it all started, and where they are now colleagues.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/STANFORD CHILDREN'S HEALTH

PALO ALTO (California) • It seemed a stroke of fate when a nurse got to reunite with one of the premature babies she cared for 28 years ago, in the very hospital where it all started.

Ms Vilma Wong, a nurse at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, recently crossed paths with Dr Brandon Seminatore, a medical resident at the hospital who was training to be a child neurologist.

Twenty-eight years ago, when Dr Seminatore was born, he weighed only 1kg. As reported by The East Bay Times on Monday, Dr Seminatore spent more than 40 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with a breathing tube, and was cared for by Ms Wong.

The encounter between the two was shared on Facebook on Aug 16 by the hospital.

In the post, the page shared a photo of a young Ms Wong cradling the infant Dr Seminatore in her lap.

In another photo, the pair are next to each other inside the hospital, both wearing their scrubs.


A young Ms Vilma Wong taking care of a baby who grew up to become Dr Brandon Seminatore, at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

The page said: "Brandon, one of our paediatric residents, was born 28 years ago in our NICU... then just 29 weeks old. Vilma was his primary-care nurse."

Almost three decades have passed since that fateful moment, but Ms Wong was far from forgetting the little baby she cared for.

The report said that all medical residents were required to check in at the nurse's station before examining premature babies in the NICU.

It was here that Ms Wong spotted Dr Seminatore and asked him who he was. "His last name sounded very familiar," Ms Wong, now 54, was quoted as saying.

"He told me that... 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.''

Dr Seminatore, however, looks far removed from the tiny premature infant who once had been under Ms Wong's care.

LASTING IMPACT

She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient's name almost three decades later.

DR BRANDON SEMINATORE, on Ms Vilma Wong, who cared for him when he was born prematurely.

Today, he stands at 1.72m tall and weighs 61kg. For him, meeting Ms Wong was a "surreal experience".

He 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 Ms Wong? She considers meeting Dr Seminatore for the second time the pay-off of her mission.

She said in the report: "As a nurse, it is kind of like your reward."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2018, with the headline 'US nurse discovers colleague was baby she cared for'. Print Edition | Subscribe