“She was such an unusual baby in terms of being so calm and not crying,” recalled the nurse Sue Berger.
A woman who suffered terrible burns as a baby was cared for by a nurse when she was in the hospital fighting for her life as an infant. The only memory she had of the mystery nurse was a photograph taken at the hospital. This image of the nurse cradling the infant wrapped in a bandage was immortalized after it was put on the cover of the 1977 Albany Medical Center annual report.
Amanda Scarpinati was just a 3-month-old when she fell into a steam vaporizer. She was rushed to Albany Medical Center in 1977 for treatment. The infant suffered burns that needed painful surgeries thereafter. Hospital staff quickly tended to the baby after melted mentholated ointment scalded her skin.
"Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented," Scarpinati told CBS News. But she knew that there was one person who genuinely cared for her. So Scarpinati kept searching for this kind-hearted nurse for years. "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."
She finally made progress only this month when she looked for the mystery nurse through a social media campaign using the photo from the report shot by photographer Carl Howard. Within days Scarpatini who lives in Athens, 25 miles south of Albany, and works as a human resources manager found Sue Berger, now a nurse practitioner in Syracuse, New York.
Berger told ABC News she was stunned on hearing that the infant in the photo now all grown up was looking for her. Finally, after 38 long years, the two were reunited at the Albany Medical Center, after connecting on the telephone.“It was wonderful, it was so good to hear her voice and have her explain emotionally where she was coming from,” Berger said. “I was just speechless and to think that someone would have thought about it all those years and to have saved the photo, as I did myself. She was such an unusual baby in terms of being so calm and not crying,” Berger continued. “She must have been in pain and she was so trusting and just a beautiful baby.”
The photo was a source of comfort throughout Scarpinati's life. Both of them feel incredibly blessed by the experience. "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," Berger shared. "I feel privileged to be the one to represent all the nurses who cared for her over the years."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | NBC News