NICU nurse reunites with former patient after 30 years

NICU nurse and patient reunited

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Carissa Thornburg doesn't remember much about the first two years of her life, but she does remember the face of Barbara Odom, her NICU nurse at Carolinas Medical Center.

Thornburg is 30 years old now, but she spent the first two years of her little life in the hospital after being born with a twisted intestine and further complications. Odom was always by her side.

"If she survived it would be a minimum of 18 months in the hospital. Don't even ask to go home before 18 months," Odom said.

Thornburg was called the miracle baby. She says the only reason she's here today is because of the care she received at CMC, especially from nurse Barbara.

"I never got to come home so nurses were my life and nurse Barbara was always there," Thornburg said.

It seems impossible that Carissa could remember a face she hasn't seen since she was a toddler, but she does. And Monday, after 28 years Carissa and nurse Barbara Odom reunited.

It all happened because of a Facebook message.

"I've never tried to find another baby, but I've never taken care of one for basically two years," Odom said.

Odom searched through Facebook, finding six woman by her patient's name. She took a chance and picked the right one.

"It said, I'm just trying to figure out if this is the same Carissa I took care of for two years," Thornburg said.

While Odom made the move to find her former patient, Thornburg says she's always wondered about the nurse who would come in on her off days to care for her,

"I think it's God sent. I've always wanted to meet her, I've always wanted to reunite with her," Thornburg said.

The way the two women talk, you'd think they're family, but even though the same blood doesn't through their veins, the same fight does.

"You have surpassed what I even hoped you would do," Odom said.

After 35 years as a NICU nurse at CMC, Odom retired last year.

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