About 1.5 million premature babies are born each year, according to the World Health Organization, and that number continues to rise. Premature birth complications are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5.
If you think that 40 weeks is a long period for a group of premature babies, you are not alone. However, a baby born alive at 37 weeks before the pregnancy is complete considered premature. But that is far from all that implies early release.
For nearly three decades, a California nurse named Vilma Wong cared for premature babies at NICU. While premature babies are similar in size and require complex care, internal developmental differences are significant enough to know that in some cases you or someone you know have given birth to a premature baby. The differences between premature and not premature babies are striking.
Fast forward 28 years to August 2018, when Brandon Seminatore of Stanford University joined Wong’s team to complete a stint in pediatric neurology.
She had asked him if his father is a police officer, she said. “I asked him because his name and surname sounded familiar,” Wong said in a statement. Seminatore’s told him to ask about a nurse named Vilma when he went to do his residency. “There was a great silence, and then he asked me if I was Vilma,” Wong said. Wong was the nurse who looked after the baby on the NICU.
One can only imagine how excited and amazed they were when they heard that their son had a nurse on the team to help him get to where he is today. “Meeting this nurse was a surreal experience. I never expected to meet the provider who looked after me when I was a baby. I needed an incubator to keep me warm, a ventilator to help me breathe and endless poking and prodding to make sure I was healthy and growing,” said Brandon.