March 3 — PROVO — When Regie Peterson’s patients leave Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, they can’t thank him for his life-saving care.
But throughout his 35-year career, the respiratory therapist has reconnected with many of them and seen first-hand how far they’ve progressed since their time in the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). One has even advanced to the point that Peterson now calls her a colleague.
Hillary Quintero and her twin brother spent time on the unit after their birth almost 30 years ago. Peterson helped care for the newborns then and he continues to help Quintero now that she has a career in medicine herself.
“Regie is so supportive and kind,” Quintero said. “He taught me a lot as a student and is always giving me an opportunity to be better. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Regie. I’m not surprised that he’s getting this award.”
Peterson is the 2014 recipient of the Annual Guardian Angel Award, an award that recognizes an individual for his or her devotion and commitment to patients in the NICU or Pediatrics areas of the hospital. Peterson will be honored at Utah Valley Regional’s Chocolate Extravaganza on Friday.
Quintero chose a career in medicine and with newborns in particular because of her experience as a baby. She met Peterson again when she was a nursing student at Weber State and came to Utah Valley Regional for clinical rotations. When she mentioned she’d been a patient in the NICU, Peterson recognized her story. They were able to look at photos of her time as a patient and determine he’d cared for her as a newborn.
Now employed as an on-call nurse, Quintero works in various departments on an as-needed basis. She looks forward to the times when she works with Peterson in the NICU and they’ve built a positive relationship over the past eight years. Peterson feels the same way about Quintero — and all the members of his team.
“I’m not really an angel, but we do have angels working up there,” Peterson said. “I’ve seen miracles. It’s like working close to heaven.”