THE BRONX --Approximately 1,700 newborns have been treated at the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx since it opened in 1998. And on Thursday, some of them came back to meet with the doctors and nurses who treated them.
Dr. Lazaro Lezcano has spent the last 18 years there and is the current director of Neonatology.
"They are like if they were my babies, same as if they were mine," he said. "That's how we take care of them."
Dr. Lezcano and his team care for infants until they're strong enough to go home, and saying farewell means he's done his job. But as he shows the photos of the children he's treated over the years, he always hopes to see them again.
St. Barnabas hosted the reunion for infants treated in the NICU as part of the 150-year anniversary celebration as the oldest continuing care facility in New York City,
Daisy Plaza's son Tristan Ortiz is now 10 years old. In the days following his birth, he was in Dr. Lezcano's care.
"I haven't see them in 10 years," she said. "I really appreciate what St. Barnabas did. They took very good care of him."
It was a reunion enjoyed by all parties involved.
"It's an amazing feeling, very rewarding for us, just to see the here," Senior NICU RN Editha Deleon said. "There are no words that can explain how we feel. It's very nice when they come back and visit."
Now, as Dr. Lezcano goes back into the NICU, he looks forward to watching these infants go out into the world with the hope that they'll come back one day to see him.