By David A. Sargent
It was 38 years ago. She was only 3 months old when the accident occurred. She was lying on a couch with a steam vaporizer on the floor beside her when she rolled off onto the boiling machine. The steam and the melted mentholated ointment scalded and burned her skin. Baby Amanda Scarpinati was rushed to the hospital.
The burns would require many reconstructive surgeries over the years. The pain of the burns and surgeries was intensified by the responses of some her peers as a child. "Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented," Amanda reflected.
But there was a constant source of solace and encouragement in her life. It was a collection of pictures of her in the pediatric recovery room of Albany Medical Center after one of her initial surgeries. The pictures show baby Amanda with her head wrapped in thick gauze being carried by a seemingly pleasant and caring young nurse. The photos appeared in Albany (NY) Medical Center's 1977 annual report. The names of baby Amanda and her nurse were not included with the photos. Amanda 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."
Amanda still treasures those photos and the nameless nurse that provided loving care to her as an infant. At the urging of a friend, Amanda posted the photos on Facebook to try to find out the identity of the nurse. "Within 12 hours, it had gone viral with 5,000 shares across the country," Amanda reported. "It was on the local TV news the next morning. I was blown away."
Angela Leary, a former nurse at Albany Medical Center, saw the photos and recognized the nurse. She sent a message to Amanda and identified the nurse as Susan Berger. Leary said of Berger, "She was as sweet and caring as she looks in this picture."
A local television reporter tracked down Berger. She now oversees the health center at Cazenovia College in New York. Amanda and her nurse were soon reunited in a phone conversation.
"It was amazing," Amanda commented. "She just has such a gentle, caring voice, just like I imagined she'd have."
Berger remembered Amanda as her patient. She is also honored that Amanda has fondly thought of her all this time. "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."
When we were in dire condition due to our sins, the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, came to our rescue. In order to save us, He had to die for us. He gave His life on the cross so that we might live (1 Thessalonians 5:10). He died almost 2,000 years ago, but you and I can still be the recipients of His grace-full, loving care.
He will save US from our sins when we place our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). Then, as we continue to walk in the light, the blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).
And one day, we will be reunited with Him! When He returns, we will "see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2) and be able to thank Him personally for saving us and giving us eternal life!