There’s nothing like the bond that is created with little ones during the early days of their arrival — and neonatal intensive care nurse Vilma Wong is proving that’s true for the medical professionals who care for babies, too.
The nurse, who has been working in the field for 32 years, was working a shift at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, last month when she noticed a man in blue scrubs standing at one of the incubators. Everyone has to check in at the nurse’s station, Wong told the San Jose Mercury News, so she asked, “Who are you?”
The second-year pediatric resident said his name was Brandon Seminatore — and that name was triggering a memory for Wong.
.@StanfordChild NICU nurse Vilma Wong cared for Brandon Seminatore when he was a 3-pound premature infant. Twenty-eight years later, he checked into her nursing station as a pediatric resident working in the same hospital — and she recognized him. https://t.co/XuESRQwcyF
— Stanford University (@Stanford) September 4, 2018
“His last name sounded very familiar,” she told the Mercury News. “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 then asked Seminatore if his dad was a police officer. He paused, then asked her, are you Vilma?
He couldn’t believe that more than 28 years later, Wong would remember having cared for him. But Seminatore’s family remembers Wong and a fellow nurse fondly for their kindness and care when Brandon was a preemie.
“Meeting Vilma was a surreal experience,” said Seminatore, who is training to become a child neurologist. “She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later.’”
Seminatore weighed just 2 pounds, 6 ounces when he was born in 1990 via emergency C-section and spent 40 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
When he began his rotation at the NICU, his mother encouraged him to ask about Wong and fellow nurse Kas Pilon, who was also instrumental in ensuring his care.
“They were the most wonderful nurses,’’ his mother, Laura Seminatore, told the Mercury News. “They helped calm a lot of our fears.’’
Upon realizing who Wong was, Brandon immediately texted his parents, who quickly retrieved photos of the nurse holding their infant son:
Wong, who is now 54, says the reunion has been nothing short of joyful.
“As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward.’’