Chicago Mother Reunites With Delivery Nurse Who Saved Her Newborn's Life 3 Years Ago

Lisa Fielding
December 10, 2018 - 1:59 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Vicelis Negron gets emotional as she reads a letter she posted on social media several weeks ago.

"Help me find Claudia, labor and delivery nurse at Westlake Hospital, Maywood, Illinois back in February 2016."

It was a plea to find the nurse who recognized her newborn's heart condition when no one else could.

"For the past two years, I've been on the search to find the woman who saved by son's life," Negron said.

About 16 hours after Jacob was born, he was wheezing and his lips were blue. Lopez recognized the signs of a severe heart condition, initiated oxygen and called the hospital's neonatologist.

"I noticed Jacob was having difficulty breathing, showing signs of respiratory distress. He was getting worse and worse," Lopez recalls.

He was diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, where blood flow to the lungs is impaired.

"Right away they realized it was not a respiratory issue, it was a cardiac issue. Jacob needed to be transferred to Lurie Hospital for open heart surgery. The neo natal team took over," Lopez said.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Nearly three years later, Claudia Lopez meets Jacob and his family.

"I've been thinking about this day. I've been thinking about this since about a week after I had Jacob. My entire family knew I was looking for Claudia. I walked in here several times looking for her, but for her security, the hospital wouldn't give us any information of course," Negron said. "I would not have given up that's for sure." 

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"It is very humbling to know that you made a difference in someone's life to that extent that she went out of her way to look for me and post it on social media," Lopez said.

Negron said after her post, she didn't have much response, but then she contacted Westlake Hospital, which took it from there.

Lopez said it's rare to see her patients after they leave the hospital.

"That is usually where it ends. We always kind of wonder when we have situations when we know the baby has been sick, we wonder how that baby is doing. He was definitely one of those cases where I wondered how he was doing and I was surprised to know they were looking for me. I've always thought about them," Lopez said.

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Jacob has had two heart surgeries and is scheduled for another one.

"I wanted to find her before Jacob's fifth birthday. I was told between the age of 4 and 5, he'd have another surgery. I wanted to have enough time to find Claudia so she could see him," Negron said.

Negron said Jacob is doing well and going through his "terrible two's." She said he's thrilled to be able to say thank you in person.

"It's a great feeling. I wanted my son to know he is alive because of her. Claudia did not only save Jacob's life, she was my mom, my dad, my husband, my sibling, my angel, my nurse," Negron said.