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15:45 PM

Former NICU patient visits hospital after 40 years

To some, a hospital may be a strange place for a homecoming. But for Shawna Manley, it's reunion she's waited four decades for.

"I wanted to see where I was at the whole time," said Manley. "I wanted to see what happened during the stay and to come back and see where everything transpired from the beginning of my life."

Because she was born several months early and weighed less than two pounds, Manley spent the first three months of her life at Children's Mercy. On Friday, for the first time since 1976, she walked inside to see the life-saving hospital for herself.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "It's exciting. It's captivating to take the steps again where once my parents did walk and my family members to see me."

While none of the staff who cared for Manley while she was a newborn still works at the hospital, one of the most experienced NICU physicians did meet with her during her visit.

"It's very encouraging to see Shawna come back and look so great and be so vibrant and focused on trying to help others. It's amazing, to be honest, that she has done so well," said Dr. Howard Kilbride, the Director of Neonatology at Children's Mercy. "Neonatology is a challenge but it's also very encouraging because we do see these great outcomes. Babies can be very sick, but they can get well, and those who do have a long life ahead of them, and it's a wonderful thing to be a part of."

See ful full story via KSHB 41.

Learn more about Children's Mercy's Division of Pediatric Neonatology and NICU.