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  November 25, 2002

Former Patient Revisits Neonatal Unit
By Jane Shaskan

To celebrate his 10th birthday, former neonatal patient Scott Steele made a return visit to the Health Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He came bearing a gift of $535, which he had collected from friends attending his birthday party. Scott decided to ask for donations from his guests after learning that his science teacher's baby was in the same NICU as he was a decade ago.

Image: Kim Oski and Scott Steele
Ten-year-old Scott Steele meets with Kim Oski, a neonatal nurse at the Health Center, who cared for him when he was born prematurely. Steele attached some of his baby pictures to the envelope containing his donation.

Photo by Peter Morenus

When Scott and his parents, Tina and Rich Steele, brought the gift Nov. 15, they were treated to a special tour of the NICU by Rachel Schmitt, nursing manager. She explained how the monitors and equipment work, and gave the family a close-up look at twins weighing about three pounds each - Scott's weight at birth.

The Steeles remember when the unit was on the second floor, in the space now occupied by Cardiology. "Things have changed so much in 10 years," Rich commented, after seeing the current NICU, with the latest in isolets and delivery facilities.

Scott soon discovered he and his former neonatal nurse, Kim Oski, have something in common: they both play hockey. The two talked animatedly about the sport, discussing the liberal defense techniques allowed to goalies, Scott's position on the team.

Also on hand to accept the donation were Catherine Tuccillo, administrative program coordinator, and Dr. Ted Rosenkrantz, head of the NICU.

"This is very nice, thank you," said Schmitt, the nursing manage, commenting on the gift. "We appreciate it," added Tuccillo.

Scott was asked by Dr. Rosenkrantz how he would like the money to be used. "Whatever you need," he replied.

Now a fifth-grader at Oswegatchie School in Waterford, Scott says science is his favorite subject. Besides hockey, he plays baseball and scraps with his two brothers, 11 and 7.

Asked what his mother thought about his birthday idea, Scott - a thoughtful boy of few words - quickly responded, "My mom said she was proud of me."

Said Tuccillo, "We all are."