Woman, Burned as a Baby, Reunites With Nurse Who Cared for Her 38 Years Ago
Amanda Scarpinati was hospitalized with burns on her head and arm as an infant, and she always wondered what happened to the nurse who cared for her.
Scarpinati was rushed to Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York when she was just three months old, and it was then that a photographer snapped a photo of an unnamed nurse holding Scarpinati, according to the New York Daily News. The pictures were published in the 1977 Albany Medical Center annual report, and Scarpinati, 38, has held onto them all these years.
“I’d look at those pictures and talk to her, even though I didn’t know who she was,” Scarpinati told New York Daily News. “I took comfort looking at this woman who seemed so sincere caring for me.”
The burns on Scarpinati’s head and hands are still visible after years of surgeries, and she says growing up was especially tough. “I was bullied all though elementary school because of my burns. I was called a witch,” she told Albany’s local ABC News 10. “I’d eat my lunch in the library to be by myself so that I wouldn’t get picked on and bullied.”
“Doctors are amazing. They do what they have to do, but after it’s said and done, they’re not there. It’s the nurses who are there comforting you and [here I am], this tiny infant, she’s just staring at me and smiling and I wasn’t crying in any of those pictures, so that says a lot,” she added to ABC News 10.
Scarpinati made it her mission to track down the nurse who showed her so much compassion, so she posted a few photos from the 1977 Albany Medical Center annual report on her Facebook page.
“These are pictures of me as a baby while I was being treated at Albany Medical Center for third degree burns in Albany, New York,” she wrote on Facebook on September 16. “I tried almost 20 years ago to find out who the nurse is holding me but had no luck. Maybe now someone on social media 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 next day, Scarpinati received a message from a former Albany Medical Center staffer who identified the nurse as Susan Berger.
“Thank you a million times over to every single person who has taken the time to help,” Scarpinati wrote on Facebook on September 17. “Next step is to try to find Susan and have her confirm that it is indeed her. #DesperatelySeekingSusan.”
Berger and Scarpinati ended up connecting, and after a few phone calls, the two arranged a meeting at the Albany Medical Center on Tuesday, September 29.
“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,” Berger told ABC News. “It was wonderful, it was so good to hear her voice and have her explain emotionally where she was coming from,” Berger added to ABC News.