TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- An otherwise routine citizenship ceremony was extra special for a Florida immigration officer who presented a naturalization certificate to a doctor from Peru who saved her life.
On Wednesday, immigration services officer Melissa Wingerd handed Dr. Gabriel Gonzales-Portillo his naturalization certificate.
Last year, Wingerd suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage and was taken to a Tampa-area hospital. Gonzales-Portillo was the neurosurgeon on call and performed a lifesaving operation on Wingerd.
After being in the United States for about 20 years, Gonzales-Portillo received his citizenship along with his wife. More than 450 people from 75 countries became U.S. citizens during the ceremony.
Gonzales-Portillo said he was going straight from the ceremony to the hospital because he had brain surgeries scheduled.
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