Reunions
Nurse learns doctor’s name and pieces together that she cared for him 28 years before
The doctor's mom sent over a photo that proved it all.
Jessica
04.18.22

When Brandon Seminatore was born in 1990, he weighed just two and a half pounds. At three months premature, that made for a long stay in the neonatal unit at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford, California before his parents could take him home to San Jose.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Interestingly, when Seminatore graduated from medical school, he was assigned to do his residency training in the very same hospital that saved his life years ago.

But that wasn’t even the biggest coincidence for the second-year pediatric neurology resident.

A triumphant return

Coming back to the same place where he struggled for his life as an infant meant a lot to Dr. Seminatore.

“Coming here for residency is just like the cherry on top, honestly – to be able to be a doctor in the hospital I was born in,” he told KPIX News in San Francisco.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

It seemingly never occurred to him that he might run into someone who had worked in the hospital all those years ago.

A flicker of recognition

One day, Seminatore was doing his rounds in the very same Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where he stayed for over a month as an infant. It was there that he ran into a nurse named Vilma Wong, who thought his unique last name sounded familiar.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Nurse Wong had a hunch she wanted to confirm. So she asked the doctor if his father was a police officer. And he was.

Then it clicked.

“And then there was a big silence, and that’s when he said to me, ‘Are you Vilma?’” Wong recalled.

Of course, Seminatore was far too young to have formed memories of the NICU, but his parents had told him for years about the nurse who cared for him as a premie – Nurse Vilma.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

A happy reunion

Of course, when Dr. Seminatore’s parents heard about his residency, they told him to look out for Nurse Vilma, but he had assumed she had retired in the roughly 30 years that had passed. So he was shocked to find out that she was there AND that she was the one to recognize him.

The reunion really changed his perspective on his time in the NICU as a resident.

“Meeting Vilma was a surreal experience,” he said. “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.”

A viral story

It might just have been a happy moment had Laura Seminatore, Brandon’s mother, not kept a photo from his days in the NICU. She sent along a photo of Nurse Vilma holding baby Brandon on her lap.

“It’s amazing that he did come full circle,” Laura Seminatore, told CBS. “I’m hoping that he will make an impact on future families the way that Vilma has made an impact on our family.”

At an event that year, the two women got to reunite and exchange hugs.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Theirs is an incredible story, and one that none of the people involved will ever forget.

“I also felt overjoyed to know that I took care of him almost 30 years ago and now he’s a pediatric resident to the same population he was part of when he was born,” Wong said. “It feels amazing. I can’t describe it. It’s just this deep joy and happiness.”

KPIX News
Source:
KPIX News

Be sure to check out the sweet video interview of the reunited pair down below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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