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Twenty Years in the Making: A NICU Story of Love and Gratitude

Daniel Greene was born to fragile beginnings. Now 20 years old, he returned to the NICU to be reunited with his care team.
Category: Pediatrics

Twenty years ago, on July 16, 1999, Daniel James Greene was born to fragile beginnings. Dan was born prematurely with duodenal atresia, a condition where the duodenum (upper part of the small intestine) is not fully formed. This condition causes a blockage that stops food or fluid from leaving the baby’s stomach. A vulnerable preemie, Dan needed special attention and care.

Dan and Patty Greene

Specialized Care at the Region’s Only NICU

Born at Baystate Medical Center, Dan received care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Continuing Care Nursery. He underwent a six hour surgery to remove the blockage and repair the duodenum. A little over a month after he was born he was able to go home.

Dan’s mom, Patty, remembers the emotions of that time clearly and still has photos and the daily journal she wrote in every day that he was in the NICU.

Reunited 20 Years Later

On Dan’s 20th birthday, he and Patty traveled from Troy, New York to visit the NICU. They got to surprise and thank Dan’s nurse, Michelle Tetrault. As Michelle exited the unit to greet them, she looked up to smile into the face of her former patient. “It really warms my heart that they came back to see me,” says Michelle.

From Tiny Baby to Certified Lifeguard

NICU Reunion with nurse Michelle

Today, Dan is a Dean’s list student in college studying history and political science. The tiny NICU baby is now a certified lifeguard at Brunswick Beach and likes to hike. NICU manager Stephanie Adam says “visits like Dan’s are important as it allows parents of current NICU babies to see the possibilities of the future beyond the intensive care their tiny baby is receiving on the unit.”

“I found myself very emotional and wanted the nurses to see what a wonderful guy he’s become,” says Patty. “I’m always amazed by the miracles they perform. NICU nurses are so very dear and special to the Greene family!”