JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An emotional reunion took place Friday between a man who was badly burned in a house fire as a baby and the Jacksonville doctor who saved his life.
It had been 45 years since they had last seen each other.
Randy Highsmith is now 53 years old. Dr. Warner Webb is the pediatric surgeon who performed multiple surgeries on him for 10 years.
News4Jax went to the former Hope Haven, Jacksonville's first pediatric hospital, where the once young, aspiring doctor and infant patient met again as fully grown, happy and healthy men.
"I recognize your face," Webb said. "Isn't that strange after so many years?"
It was a long overdue checkup.
"I need to get a follow-up on what all has happened to you," Webb said to Highsmith.
In 1967, when Highsmith was 16 months old, he got burned inside his family's Orange Park home.
"That was soon after I came to Jacksonville to practice surgery," Webb explained.
Highsmith became one of Webb's first patients.
"I remember he was very sick," Webb said.
Years of healing later, they saw each other again.
"It was very emotional being able to see Dr. Webb after all these years, to let him know firsthand that I appreciated him being there and saving my life," Highsmith said.
The two men both said it was very meaningful for them to be reunited decades later.
"It was touching and gratifying," Highsmith said.
Webb added, "It's a wonderful feeling. It makes you realize all the hard work was worthwhile and worth it."
Both men said they are thankful for one another.
Highsmith now works for an engineering firm. He has two daughters and a grandson, and said he's happily married to his wife of 31 years.
Webb said he is enjoying retirement.