Medical history was changed forever inside a neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital in Worcester, Mass in 1995, when some complications appeared with Paul Jackson’s newborn twin daughters Kyrie and Brielle who were born 12 weeks premature.
In those days, it was uncommon for babies to share an incubator since the medical community believed that prematurely-born babies are too fragile. At three weeks old, Brielle’s stable condition took a turn for the worse and the baby began struggling to breathe. Her oxygen levels dropped and the heart rate increased as she started turning blue.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Gayle Kasparian wanted to try something that was never practiced in the US before: putting the stronger twin Kyrie into the incubator Brielle was in. When Kyrie put her tiny arms around Brielle, the troubled baby’s condition immediately started to inexplicably stabilize. One photographer captured the moment on camera – it became the image known as the “Rescuing Hug,” which appeared in Life Magazine and Reader’s Digest.
Now, Brielle and Kyrie are living healthy and happy adult lives and remain thankful to Gayle Kasparian.
The nurse’s quick thinking not only saved the twins but also raised awareness about the power of skin to skin contact. Prematurely-born babies are nowadays often handled in this way, an approach known as “Kangaroo Care.”
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