NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Pediatric resident Brandon Seminatore was doing a month-long rotation at the same neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where he was cared for as a newborn, when he came across someone from his past.
Vilma Wong, 54, has worked in the NICU at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for 32 years.
The East Bay Times reported on Sept. 2 that Wong asked Seminatore who he was when she saw him standing near an incubator wearing blue scrubs.
Seminatore told her and she thought his last name sounded very familiar.
“I kept asking where he was from and he told me that he was from San Jose, California, and that he was a premature baby born at our hospital,” said Wong. She remembered being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name.
“I asked him if his dad was a police officer and there was a big silence, and then he asked me if I was Vilma. I said yes.”
It turns out that Seminatore’s mother, remembering Wong’s care, had told him to look for a “Vilma” in the NICU. But he thought it was pretty unlikely that he’d find her, assuming she’d already retired.
The hospital’s Facebook page posted a photo of Wong and baby Brandon, circa 1990, alongside a photo of their reunion last month. The post, of course, has since gone viral.
Seminatore — who is now training to become a child neurologist — weighed 2 pounds and 6 ounces, the size of a small pineapple, when he was born in 1990.
He said, “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. I’ve come full-circle and I’m taking care of babies with the nurse that took care of me.”
The daughter of Chinese parents, Wong grew up in Nicaragua and moved to the United States when she was 16, where she earned her BS and MS degrees in nursing.
A mother of two, Wong said it was extremely satisfying to see patients like Seminatore, who was critically ill at birth, thrive.
Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.