Nurse Works for the Same Hospital that Saved Her as a Baby

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. beat the odds / biːt ði ɑːdz / (idiom) – to overcome something and succeed despite facing difficulties

    Doctors said that only one out of 50,000 people survive the disease, but my mother beat the odds.

  2. premature / ˌpriːməˈtuɚ / (adj) – born before the usual time

    I was born a premature baby at eight months.

  3. pay it forward / peɪ ɪt ‘foɚwɚd / (idiom) – to respond to someone’s act of kindness by also being kind to a different person

    Many doctors saved my life when I was young, so I chose to be a doctor to pay it forward.

  4. rewarding / rɪˈwoɚdɪŋ / (adj) – providing a feeling of joy and satisfaction

    The nurse said it is always rewarding for her to see her patients recover after their struggles.

  5. beacon of hope / ˈbiːkən əv hoʊp / (idiom) – something that gives inspiration and hope

    At the time when many were dying because of contagious diseases, vaccines were a beacon of hope for a lot of people.


Read the text below.

A woman who once fought for her life as the smallest baby born in Texas now works at the same hospital that saved her life.

Born at 24 weeks old, Tammy Lewis spent three and a half months at Scott and White Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Lewis was considered a micro preemie / ˈmaɪkroʊ ˈpriːmi /, a baby born weighing less than 800 grams. Because of this, the doctors were unsure whether she would live and beat the odds.

Now, after 34 years, Lewis works at the same NICU that took care of her when she was a premature baby.

Even while she was still studying, Lewis had always known that she wanted to work with children. She was choosing between a profession in teaching and the medical field. However, Lewis claimed that she fell in love with the medical field when she began researching on it.

Now, Lewis works as a respiratory therapist for premature babies. Part of her job is attaching premature babies to ventilators and breathing tubes, just like the ones that helped her survive years ago. Incidentally, Lewis is now working alongside some of the staff who took care of her as a baby.

Lewis said that it is an honor to be able to pay it forward and take care of children who are in the same situation that she was in. According to Lewis, nothing feels more rewarding for her than seeing premature babies grow big and healthy enough to go home. She added that being a survivor lets her become a beacon of hope for parents with premature babies in the hospital.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Lewis’ success story is enough to give hope to parents with preemies? Why or why not?
• If you were Lewis, would you also choose to work as a nurse at the same NICU that took care of you as a baby? Explain.

Discussion B

• Is it important to pay it forward when someone does something good to you? Explain.
• If someone saved your life, how would you express your gratitude to him/her?