We don’t need a viral story to remind us how amazing nurses are, but it’s still great to see one recognized for the impact she had on one person almost 40 years ago. It’s never too late to let someone know what their kindness meant to you. This incredible tale of a woman finally tracking down the nurse who cared for her as an infant burn victim proves it.
Amanda Scarpinati, 38, was injured as the result of an accident as a baby. At three months old, she rolled from a couch onto a steam vaporizer and the steam and melted mentholated ointment burned her so badly she required several surgeries after. The year she was treated, photos of Amanda with her nurse were published in the hospital’s annual report. Amanda says she always treasured the photos. “Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented. 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.”
Are you in tears yet? Wait, it gets even better. Amanda tried several years ago, without success, to identify and locate the nurse who meant so much to her. Earlier this month, she decided to try again and posted the photos on Facebook with a plea for people to share it and hopefully, find the nurse. This time, she struck gold. Here is the post:
These are pictures of me as a baby while I was being treated at Albany Medical Center for 3rd degree burns in Albany, NY. I tried almost 20 years ago to find out who the nurse is holding me but had no luck. Maybe now with the powers of social media someone will recognize her. This was from 1977. I would love to know her name and possibly get a chance to talk to her and meet her. Please share as you never know who it could reach.
The comments were full of people willing to help with several making suggestions of where Amanda should try to find information that could lead her to the nurse’s identity. Ultimately, it worked:
According to the Associated Press, a local television reporter found Susan Berger who was, in fact, the nurse from the photos. The two have since spoken on the phone with Scarpinati saying, “She just has such a gentle, caring voice, just like I imagined she’d have.” For Berger’s part, she is so happy to reconnect with her former patient. “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. I feel privileged to be the one to represent all the nurses who cared for her over the years.”
As moms, most of us have had our lives touched by nurses. Whether they cared for us when we had our babies or took care of our children when they were sick or injured, their impact is undeniable. The work they do is also thankless at times, so it’s heartening to see stories like this go viral. I know at times in my life where I’ve needed medical care, it was kindly nurses holding my hand when I was afraid and answering my nervous questions. They deserve to be held in the highest regard for the little things they do to ease our fears and take care of us.
As they only live a few hours apart, the Albany Medical Center has arranged for Scarpinati and Berger to meet today, and we can only imagine how exciting it will be for both of them. For Amanda to see someone who gave her comfort her whole life, even only through photos, and for Berger to see what her kindness meant to someone long after caring for them. Sometimes, the internet can be a wonderful thing. This is definitely one of those occasions.