A girl was born on December 4, 1997, at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona three months early. She weighed just 800 grams. As a born fighter, Noelia Ruiz spent the first 12 weeks of her life struggling to stay alive.
Dr. Castillo, the former head of Neonatology, lead the team that brought Noelia into the world all those years ago.
Inspired by the doctor who saved her life, she went on to become a nursing assistant.
Noelia, who is now 24 and works in the very same hospital where she was born, couldn’t wait to catch up with the doctor that helped her.
The young nursing student mustered the courage to knock on Dr. Castillo’s door and the pair had an emotional reunion nearly 24 years later.
Dr. Castillo said he was surprised when he opened the door to see Noelia.
The doctor recalled that the survival rate for 24-week-old infants was dangerously low back in 1997.
“The life expectancy of a baby born at 24 weeks at that time was very unlikely and our means and knowledge was very limited,” he said. “We could keep a child alive but what we didn’t know was what the neurological damage could be when the child grew older.”
“I am delighted that Noelia is not only healthy but very smart,” the doctor added.
“It was very nice. I found out that he worked there because I spoke with a colleague and she told me,” Noelia said of the reunion.
“I went to his office, introduced myself and he told me about my case. We were both very excited to see each other again.”