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California nurse meets baby she helped save 28 years later and he's a doctor

A California nurse who never forgot a premature baby she cared for early in her career has been reunited with her patient – now a doctor at the same hospital where he was born 28 years ago.

Stanford's Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, in a post that exploded on Facebook, says Vilma Wong recognized pediatric resident Brandon Seminatore's name when he was performing rounds at the hospital in San Jose.

Seminatore was born at the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, 29 weeks into his mother's pregnancy. He weighed a little more than two pounds.

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"Fast forward nearly 30 years, and Vilma recognized Brandon’s name while he was rounding at our hospital. What a memory!" the Facebook post exclaims.

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Wong, 54, told The Mercury News she saw someone visiting with patients who had not checked in at the nurse station. She asked him who he was and thought his name sounded familiar. She pressed him, and he said he was born, a preemie, in the same hospital.

She thought she remembered him, and asked him whether his father was a police officer.

“There was a big silence,’’ she said, "Then he asked if I was Vilma.’’

Seminatore spent 40 days in NICU as an infant, checking out a healthy 5 pounds and 2 ounces. Today he is bigger and stronger, but Wong says he has the same dark eyes and alert expression.

Wong says she loves her work and has no plans to retire. Having the opportunity to meet a baby she nurtured later in life makes the job even better, she said.

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“As a nurse,’’ she said, “it’s kind of like your reward.’’

The hospital's Facebook post drew more than 700 comments, hundreds of them from parents and fellow health care professionals lauding Wong's skill and dedication.

"Vilma was my daughter's primary nurse, I just simply love her!!!" said Monica Rodriguez Regalado. "She has a very special place in our hearts!!!"

Seminatore told the Mercury News he doesn't know for sure whether his rocky early weeks played a role in his decision to become a healer. But he was impressed by Wong.

“Meeting Vilma 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.’’

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