The reunion of a nurse and a former patient in the same workplace in California has touched hearts on social media.
Nearly three decades ago, Vilma Wong helped treat a premature baby named Brandon Seminatore at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford.
So when the same name made morning rounds in the unit last month, Wong became suspicious.
After throwing questions, Wong confirmed that Seminatore was the 29-week-old baby she cared for 28 years ago.
“Brandon was on my team and taking care of one of my patients. I asked who he was and his last name sounded very familiar,” the 52-year-old nurse told Babble.
Wong tended to young Seminatore for a month before he was well enough to go home with his parents to San Jose.
“I kept asking questions, like where he was from and he told me he was from San Jose, 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.”
Ahead of the chance reunion, Seminatore’s mother had instructed him to look for a “Vilma” in the NICU. But he dismissed the idea assuming that she had already retired.
Apparently, all he needed to do was ask.
“To confirm my suspicion, I asked him if his dad was a police officer. And there was a big silence,” Wong said.
“Then he asked me if I was Vilma. I said yes!”
Seminatore is now a second-year pediatric neurology resident at the hospital.
“I was in shock initially, but 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 recalled.
The young doctor shares her sentiments.
“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 told Babble.
“Meeting Vilma showed me the dedication and love she 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.”
Wong came to the U.S. from Nicaragua at the age of 16. She holds a bachelor and a master’s degree in nursing.
She has been working at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for the past 32 years. It was also her first job.
“Although it is a very challenging profession, being a NICU nurse is also very rewarding. I consider myself very lucky to be in a profession that I love, and to make a difference in somebody’s life,” Wong said.
Wong and Seminatore’s chance reunion has gone viral on Facebook.
Many praised Wong’s dedication to her profession, including colleagues and former clients.
“Vilma was my daughter’s primary nurse, I just simply love her! She has a very special place in our hearts!”
“We are so grateful for Vilma! She was my daughter’s nurse just this past year. Her love and dedication to all the NICU babies is incredible. She really goes above and beyond, providing the absolute best care. Thank you so much Vilma!”
“Vilma Wong was our son, Riley’s primary nurse in the NICU at LPCH! We love her so much and she holds a special place in our hearts… We love you Auntie Vilma!”
“Vilma is an incredible nurse. One of the best and sweetest.”
“What a heartwarming story! Being a nurse is so rewarding, especially when you hear stories like this! I always enjoyed working with you, Vilma!”