SAN DIEGO — There were a lot of touching reunions Sunday at Rady Children's Hospital.
Doctors and nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU reconnected with the children whose lives they helped save and their families.
"It is incredible to see these families," said Rady Children's Dr. Gail Knight.
It was a reunion that was very special for parents like Robbie and Meradeth Wittamore.
"The staff here is truly special. They remember their patients. They take care of their patients. And they make it that coming back on a day like today is extra special," said Robbie.
Their son Reef was born with an aneurism and needed to stay in the NICU at the hospital. Robbie said doctors were able to map his brain, make a plan, and execute it.
"The people here at Rady's were able to take me and take care of me and walk me through the process and make it easy to take care of my family," he said.
Dr. Knight said reunions like this are what it's all about.
"When the kids go home as babies and you know you're handing over kids that have been in the ICU, it's almost - for some of us - giving away your own child and you know you're giving them to their parents and you know they'll be well taken care of and cherished," said Dr. Knight.
The Wittamores said the people who stay here developed a unique relationship with the staff, one that stays with them forever.
"It's fun to come back to the NICU as a reunion, as an alumni because we get to see people that took care of our son," said Robbie. "We get to see the doctors and nurses and they remember him."
For them, the staff at Rady Children's gave them the greatest gift ever - the gift of life.
"He is a ray of sunshine," said Meradeth. "He is happy, he's healthy. It's all you want as a parent - a happy and healthy kid."