Woman Reunites With Nurse Who Cared for Her as Burned Infant

Amanda Scarpinati found the nurse who comforted her 38 years ago.

ByABC News
September 29, 2015, 1:39 PM

— -- It has been nearly 40 years, but a New York woman found the nurse who cared for her when she was badly burned as an infant.

Amanda Scarpinati had spent years searching for the mystery nurse shown in a moving black-and-white photograph caring for Scarpinati when she was a baby. Scarpinati was burned after falling onto a steam vaporizer as a 3-month-old and taken to Albany Medical Center in 1977 for treatment.

A few snapshots of Scarpinati as an infant wrapped in bandages and carefully cradled by a nurse made the cover of the 1977 Albany Medical Center annual report. Scarpinati searched for the woman this month via a social media campaign.

Within days, she found out the caring nurse was Sue Berger, now a nurse practitioner in Syracuse, New York.

“I was so stunned,” Berger told ABC News on hearing that Scarpinati was looking for her. “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 said she distinctly remembered Scarpinati as an infant and had wondered what happened to the badly burned child.

“She was such an unusual baby in terms of being so calm and not crying,” Berger said. “She must have been in pain and she was so trusting and just a beautiful baby.”

They met for the first time in 38 years this afternoon at the Albany Medical Center, after already reconnecting 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 of speaking to Scarpinati on the phone.

Scarpinati told The Associated Press that the picture of Berger’s holding her gave her comfort during her childhood. Scarpinati could not immediately be reached for further comment by ABC News.

"Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented," Scarpinati told the AP. "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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.