28 Years Later, NICU Nurse and Former Preemie Reconnect

Photos: Courtesy Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

The first time Vilma Wong met Brandon Seminatore, she was a neonatal intensive care nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, and he was a 29-week preemie. The second time Wong met Seminatore, she was a neonatal intensive care nurse—and he was a second-year resident in child neurology.

When Seminatore checked in for a recent NICU shift at Packard, Wong thought his name sounded familiar. So she asked him where he had grown up: San Jose. Was his father a police officer? Retired now, but yes. Seminatore glanced at her ID badge, and there it was: “Vilma Wong.”

Seminatore’s parents had told him to keep an eye out for Wong, who had been his primary care nurse 28 years prior, during his monthlong stay in the NICU. Once he told them he’d found her, his dad sent over a photo of baby Brandon on Vilma’s lap. 

“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 told Stanford Medicine.

“Meeting Vilma gave me more perspective about how she goes about her work,” Seminatore says. “Because those kids stay for months sometimes. You’re there guiding those parents day by day, building rapport and gaining trust.”

Kathy Zonana, ’93, JD ’96, is the editor of Stanford.