September 5, 2018 3:31 pm
Updated: September 5, 2018 3:41 pm

California nurse saved a preemie baby 28 years ago. Now they work together

WATCH: Vilma Wong once saved Brandon Seminatore's life in the NICU. After almost 30 years, the two are now co-workers.

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It’s a reunion story 28 years in the making.

In August, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., shared a side-by-side picture of house nurse Wilma Wong and once-patient now resident Brandon Seminatore.

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The two first crossed paths 28 years ago — when Wong saved Seminatore’s life in the NICU.

“A chance encounter at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has led to a heartwarming reunion between nurse and patient,” the Facebook 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. Fast forward nearly 30 years, and Vilma recognized Brandon’s name while he was rounding at our hospital. What a memory! Here’s a special look at them both then and now.”

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Speaking with Today, Seminatore, 32, said Wong, 54, walked up to him when she saw his name tag.

“You could see it jogged something in her mind,” he told the site. “She asked me if I grew up in this area. I said, ‘Yes, I was actually born in this hospital,'” he continued. “She furrowed her brow. Then she asked if my dad was a cop. I said, ‘He’s retired now, but, yes, he used to be one.’”

The pediatric resident quickly remembered a story his mother told him years ago. When he was born, a nurse had bonded with her father over the period of 40 days.

READ MORE: Parents of preemies as fulfilled as those with full-term babies in long run — study

“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 told The Mercury News.

“There was a big silence,’’ she continued. “And then he asked if I was Vilma.”

Today reports Seminatore was born at 29 weeks in April 1990 and weighed two pounds and six ounces. Today, standing at 134 pounds, he added it was a surreal experience.

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

And with a Facebook post now gone viral, many parents also shared their experiences with Wong.

“Vilma was my daughter’s primary nurse, I just simply love her… She has a very special place in our hearts,” wrote Monica Rodriguez Regalado.

“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,” wrote Heather Rogan.

READ MORE: A premature Edmonton baby weighed just over 1 pound at birth. Now, he’s thriving

“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,” wrote Christine Phan Cantorna.

Others also shared experiences of having children in NICU and the importance of nurses.

“My son is graduating high school this year and I would love to take him back to IICU and NICU this year. He was born at 30 weeks in 2001 and he weighed 2.5 lbs. I still remember all the nurses,” wrote Jackie Becker.

“My daughter had a stomach surgery cause she was throwing up all her food … she had her pyloric stenosis surgery there about seven and a half years ago when she was only three weeks old and weighed about four pounds. The best doctors/nurses that I have met yet by far did an amazing job with her and her scars are barely noticeable,” wrote Kristi L Faria.

After all the media attention of their reunion, Wong who has now met Seminatore a second time, said it has been heartwarming.

“It’s kind of like your reward.”

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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