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Albany Med NICU Graduate Now High School Valedictorian

When Roman Hula graduates as valedictorian of Richfield Springs Central School in June, no doubt his parents, Amy and George, will recall 18 years ago when they were told their son could possibly have long-term developmental difficulties.

“I can only think of how things for my son might have been so different without the expertise of the Albany Med nurses, doctors and the helicopter team,” said Amy. “I thank God and count my blessings every day.”

During birth at a central New York hospital, Roman’s lung collapsed; he stopped breathing and turned blue.

Roman Hula from 1996, the year he was cared for by the NICU team at Albany Med.
Roman Hula from 1996, the year he was cared for by the NICU team at Albany Med. Richfield Springs Central School valedictorian Roman Hula in his senior photo.
“He’s bad,” his parents said they were told. Within an hour, their newborn was airlifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med.

After two weeks in the NICU, Roman recovered and went home, but there was continued concern that the lack of oxygen in those first moments of life could cause future developmental issues. But thanks to the excellent care he received, those effects never materialized. The star student and athlete earned high marks in all that he did.

“Achieving valedictorian gives me the feeling of mission accomplished,” said Roman, who will attend the University at Albany this fall as a Presidential Scholar.

“My son thrives on challenges,” said Amy. “He was determined to be valedictorian, and we’re so proud he reached his goal.”

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