Former Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Heart Patient Returns As WCU-Miami BSN Student During Pediatric Rotation

Being a nurse takes a lot of heart, but sometimes those hearts need a little help.

Twenty-five years ago, Ashley Cano underwent surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to correct a congenital defect in her heart when she was only 9 months old. Thanks to the staff at Nicklaus Children’s — and most notably her heart surgeon, Dr. Redmond Burke — Cano was successfully treated and went on to lead a healthy, normal life.

Recently, Cano gave Dr. Burke a pleasant surprise when she returned to the Miami hospital for her pediatrics rotation and introduced herself as one of his former patients.

“That touched me,” Burke said, “but when I saw that she was wearing a nursing uniform, I asked her ‘What are you doing?’ And she said, ‘I’m a nursing student,’ and that was beautiful because not only did we get to save Ashley’s life but we inspired her to save other people’s lives. We passed on that desire to help and serve to Ashley and we’re really proud of her.”

Now a nursing student at West Coast University-Miami, Cano said spending a day with the doctor who saved her life and standing in the operating room where he performed the surgery “had special meaning” for her. For Dr. Burke, the meeting also went beyond reuniting with a former patient.

“What’s really resonating with me is she’s going to dedicate her life to saving other people and helping other children, and maybe — someday — one of the children that she takes care of will come up to her and say, ‘Ashley, you took care of me when I was a baby,'” Burke said. “And wouldn’t that be great?”

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