In 1995, inside a neo-natal intensive care unit at a hospital in Worcester, Mass. medical history was changed forever when there were complications with Paul Jackson’s newborn, 12 week premature twin daughters.
It was uncommon for babies to be handled, much less share an incubator. At the time, it was thought that premature babies might be too fragile and delicate by the medical community.
At three weeks old, one of the twin’s previously stable condition took a turn and began struggling to breathe, her heart rate increased and her oxygen level dropped. She even began to turn blue.
On-duty NICU nurse, Gayle Kasparaian wanted to try something that hadn’t been practiced in the USA yet. She put the stronger twin, Kyrie, into the incubator Brielle was in.
Kyrie’s next gesture has been described as nothing short of a miracle; she put her tiny arm around Brielle, whose stats instantly began to stabilise. A photographer captured the beautiful image now known as the “Rescuing Hug”, appearing in Life Magazine and Reader’s Digest.
Brielle and Kyrie are now living healthy and happy adult lives, forever indebted to Gayle.
The nurses quick thinking not only saved the twins, but raised awareness of skin-to-skin contact. Premature babies are frequently handled this way, known as “Kangaroo Care,” some as young as 23 weeks old.
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