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St. Francis Medical Center


 St. Francis Medical Center

An NICU Family Reunion

Jan 23, 2018 | Patient Stories, St. Francis News

Mario Larrubia Mañas and his partner Sergio Martin Marin were all smiles as they walked their son, Galileo Larrubia Martin, up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and into the welcoming arms of the awaiting doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists. It was a heartwarming homecoming for the NICU team.

Nearly four years ago, on January 31, 2014, little Galileo was born in the St. Francis Family Life Center. Mario and Sergio were ecstatic. They had come all the way from their home town of Barcelona, Spain, to be here for their son’s birth, made possible with the help of a loving surrogate mom. Understandably, they were nervous, especially when Galileo was admitted to the NICU.

“It was a very definitive night for us,” said Mario through hospital staff who helped to translate. “We were waiting for test results to see if Galileo had an infection.”

In spite of their anxiety, what Mario and Sergio remember most is how the NICU staff made them feel.

“We felt like we were surrounded by family,” Mario stated. “We were so far from home, and yet it didn’t feel like a hospital. It felt like family.”

Mario and Sergio continue to be grateful to the staff and made a point of contacting Phallee Wooldridge, NICU and Pediatric Unit manager, after arriving to California for a vacation. They wanted to visit the caregivers they remembered so well and let them get reacquainted with a much-grown Galileo.

Thinking back on that last occasion when they were here, Mario said, “It was a very emotional time, and we were thankful to be allowed to stay with the baby and be so supported by the staff.”

He and Sergio called out members of the St. Francis health care team who made their experience here exceptional, among them, Carla, Raquel, Lourdes, and Phallee from NICU; Giselle from Respiratory Therapy, Jaime from Social Services, and so many others.

“Raquel wasn’t on shift, but she called to check on us,” recounted Mario. “We started to tell her how the baby was doing, but she stopped us. She wanted to know how we were doing.”

Mario continued, “And Jaime sat with us while we waited for Galileo’s test results. He was very reassuring and compassionate. We really appreciated that moment of compassion because we were so focused on our own situation, we were not aware of anything else going on around us.”

Thankfully, the tests were negative for any infection, and today, no longer worried about infant issues, Mario and Sergio just worry about keeping up with Galileo. They say he is an active pre-schooler who already excels at math and spelling, loves cars and waterparks, and is full of energy and imagination.

While in LA, they plan to surprise Galileo with a trip to Disneyland on the actual day of his fourth birthday. As that date approaches, they are having a wonderful time visiting friends and loved ones.

Mario and Sergio promised to return again, hopefully making the trip to California and St. Francis Medical Center a four-year tradition – at least until Galileo grows up.

Given the great start Galileo gained through the care he received at St. Francis, Mario, Sergio and Galileo now look forward to a very happy, healthy future as a family – and as a part of the SFMC family.

An NICU Family Reunion