For many years, Amanda Scarpinati cherished a vintage black-and-white photograph of a nurse holding her as a newborn.
The photograph was taken in 1977 at a New York hospital following Amanda’s tragic accident.
Amanda, three months old, was burned to the third degree after slipping from the sofa into a hot-steam humidifier. In the image, the nurse is trying to calm the small girl by placing bandages around her head.
In 1977, Amanda Scarpinati was taken in an ambulance to Albany Medical Center in New York with third-degree burns. She’d slipped off the couch and fell in a humidifier filled with hot steam.
She was cared for by a young nurse at the hospital. In the black and white photographs from that year, she is shown cradling Amanda and smiling fondly at her.
Although Amanda recovered from the catastrophe, her burns prompted her to face constant taunting throughout her childhood. “Growing up as a child, scarred by the burns, I was harassed and picked on, tormented,” Amanda recounts “‘I’d look at those images and talk to her, even though I didn’t know who she was. I found solace in this woman who seemed to genuinely care about me.”
Amanda wished she could find the nurse who had supported and cared for her during that difficult time. Amanda went to social media after a 20-year search that yielded no results. “I would want to know her name and potentially get a chance to chat to her and meet her,” she commented on her Facebook page after posting the black and white photos. ” Please spread the word since you never know who it might reach.”
She got the message she had been waiting for after her post went viral the next day. Angela Leary, a nurse who had previously worked there that year, recognized Susan Berger. Susan, who was 21 years old, had recently graduated from college. She had also preserved the photographs and had never forgotten the tiny child with burns.
“I remember her. ‘She seemed really calm,’” Susan recalls. “Typically, when babies recover after surgery, they are asleep or crying. She was simply calm and trusting. It was incredible.”
Soon after, the duo had an emotional reunion after 38 years apart.
“I’m not sure how many nurses would be fortunate enough to have anything like this happen to them, to have someone remember them all that time,” Susan adds.
“I consider myself fortunate to be the one to represent all of the nurses who have cared for Amanda over the years.”
When I read this remarkable story, I was moved to tears, especially considering everything Amanda has been through.
Share this story if you believe that nurses all over the world do an excellent job of caring for individuals in their darkest hours. They are simply amazing!