Watch CBS News

Stanford Doctor Becomes Colleague With Nurse Who Once Cared For Him As Premature Infant

PALO ALTO (CBS News) -- A doctor and nurse at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital share a unique bond after meeting decades ago under very different circumstances.

Dr. Brandon Seminatore works at the hospital's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, the same facility where Seminatore was born prematurely in 1990. Born about three months premature, Seminatore weighed less than two and half pounds when he was moved to the neonatal unit.

"Coming here for residency is just like the cherry on top, honestly," said Seminatore. "To be able to be a doctor in the hospital I was born in."

He was doing his rounds when he ran into a nurse who told him his name sounded familiar.

"And then I said, 'Was your father a police officer?'" said nurse Vilma Wong. "And then there was a big silence, and that's when he said to me, 'Are you Vilma?'"

For years, Seminatore's parents had told him about "Nurse Vilma." It was Wong who had cared for him when he was a newborn.

"I actually had to text my parents," said Seminatore. "I had to be, like, 'So I think this is the person who is the person you keep telling me about and then they sent the picture."

"I was in shock," laughed Wong. "We were just, like, smiling. And we kept looking at each other and going, 'Can you believe that?'"

"it just didn't seem real. Like, how - how could this be the nurse that was helping take care of me?" said Seminatore.

Seminatore's parents also had their chance to reconnect with Wong at an event the hospital holds every year designed to bring together NICU patents with their doctors and nurses.

"I'm just so shocked, said Seminatore' mother Laura Seminatore.

His parents now hope their son can have the same connection with the families he helps.

"It's amazing that he did come full circle, but I'm hoping that he will make an impact on future families the way that Vilma has made an impact on our family," said Laura Seminatore.

Wong was moved hearing a mother talk about the impact Wong had on her son.

"It feels amazing," said Wong. "I can't describe it. It's just deep joy and happiness."

Wong and Seminatore's unexpected bond continues to grow stronger as the two have occasional dinners together. Both hope their fateful meeting will inspire other NICU families to see that the most fulfilled lives can come from the most humble beginnings.

"I think, he's a role model, for a patient," said Wong. "And sometimes it's good to say, 'You know, I took care of Brandon. He's a doctor.' Just to give 'em a little ray of hope. In our unit that's very important."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.