PHOENIX (FOX 10) - It's not often that doctors get to see their old patients. Well, that wasn't the case at Banner University Medical Center on Saturday. Staff in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit got the chance to reunite with the families they cared for.
It was a celebration of life as staff from Banner University Medical Center celebrated their NICU survivors and their families at the fourth annual NICU graduates celebration.
"It's definitely rewarding," said Brittany Taylor, a nurse at BUMC. "It's a great feeling to know that we have so many people who appreciate what we do as nurses here. Families like Andreann Carvajal.
"This event gives me the chance to [grow] after healing and learning from all of that experience to come back and actually say thank you to the staff [that] in turn, saved my daughter's life," Carvajal said.
Carvajal spent the first days of her daughter, Riley's, life in the NICU. Riley had underdeveloped lungs - but thanks to the NICU, today Riley is a strong and healthy 8-month-old.
Without them and the procedures and the medical care that she received here, I wouldn't have her - plain and simple," Carvajal said.
"It's wonderful," said Jay Patel, a doctor at BUMC. "You know these families are so grateful for what we do here, and we're so grateful for them. For allowing us to get a glimpse back into their lives when we have events like this."
Pate also says it's times like these that remind them what they're truly fighting for.
"They can overcome amazing things," Patel said. "You see them come back here - they're smiling, they're thriving, running around playing. It's just wonderful. It validates what we're doing here in the NICU - it's always nice to see the fruits of your labor."
If you or anyone you know has experienced the NICU or are going through it now, you can find support from the non-profit Project Sweet Peas.
Project Sweet Peas