Nurse reunites with baby held in viral photo

In this 1977 photo provided by the Albany Medical Center, nurse Susan Berger cuddles infant Amanda Scarpinati in the pediatric unit. Scarpinati had been severely burned by a steam vaporizer. Scarpinati recently used social media to learn Berger's identity so she could thank her for her loving care. Photo via AP

ALBANY, N.Y. – A woman badly burned as a baby finally reunited with the nurse who cared for her 38 years ago. Amanda Scarpinati always treasured photos showing her as a 3-month-old burn patient, being cradled in the arms of a young nurse. When she was taunted on the playground or suffered through reconstructive surgeries, she found comfort thinking of the nurse who cared.

“Just to see the love and the caring in these pictures just blows my mind,” Scarpinati said. “That a complete stranger can just open themselves up and care for you, and I just want to be able to thank her for that.”

Facebook friends led her to Susan Berger, now nearing retirement. The two finally met Tuesday at the Albany Medical Center in New York, thanking each other for the lasting impact of their encounters in the pediatric care ward so long ago.

You could hear how fast their hearts were beating. Scarpinati said it felt as exciting as Christmas. Berger gasped as she turned the corner to see Scarpinati’s face.

“You know, I held her for the longest time,” Berger recalled. “‘Does she really have to be discharged and go back to her unit now? I’d like a few more minutes.’ She was just so good and so trusting and amazing for such a tiny baby.”

 

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