A woman who was a burn victim as an infant tracked down the nurse who cared for her at Albany Medical Center Hospital. After 40 years, the nurse and her patient will be reunited thanks to a social media post that revealed the nurse’s identity.
Amanda Scarpinati was treated for burns as a baby in 1977 and has always treasured the photos of herself in the nurse’s arms. The black-and-white photos were published in Albany Medical Center’s 1977 annual report with no names, according to Star Tribune.
“Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented,” Scarpinati said. “I’d look at those pictures and talk to her, even though I didn’t know who she was. I took comfort looking at this woman who seemed so sincere caring for me.”
Scarpinati was three years old in the photos and had suffered severe burns from a hot-steam humidifier. She went through years of surgeries, Times Union reports.
Scarpinati tried to find out who the nurse was 20 years ago, but she was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until she put the photos on Facebook in September that she took a big step toward putting a name with the face she had long cherished.
The 38-year-old human resources manager from Athens said that the post had gone viral “with 5,000 shares across the country” within 12 hours. It had even made it onto a local TV station by the next morning.
A former nurse at Albany Medical Center sent Scarpinati a message with the nurse’s name, Susan Berger. She added that the “sweet and caring” nurse had moved to Syracuse years earlier, Star Tribune reports.
Then, a local television reporter found Berger. Scarpinati was able to talk to Berger over the phone. “It was amazing,” she said.
Berger was only 21 when she was working in the pediatric recovery center, but she remembered Scarpinati. “She was very peaceful. Usually when babies come out of surgery they’re sleeping or crying. She was just so calm and trusting. It was amazing,” she said.
Berger added that she was excited to be reunited with her patient Tuesday. “I don’t know how many nurses would be lucky enough to have something like this happen, to have someone remember you all that time,” she said.