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Two Decades Ago Their ‘Rescuing Hug’ Stunned The World And Revolutionised Medicine

Twins Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born prematurely 12 weeks before their date was due, in 1995. They were born at the Central Massachusetts Medical Center where according to standard practice; twins were incubated separately to reduce chances of infection. Kyrie and Brielle were hence placed in different incubators. Kyrie, who at the time weighed 2lbs 3oz started making good progress and was gaining weight. Brielle on the other hand was having breathing problems and her heart rate was not so good. Her oxygen levels were low and she was not gaining weight.

Twins Kyrie and Brielle Jackson
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On November 12, Brielle’s condition became critical. She began to turn bluish gray while trying to gasp for air and her heart rate soared. Her parents were terrified that their little bundle of joy may die. Gayle Kasparian, one of the nurses at the hospital tried everything she could but none of the conventional remedies was working. That is when she decided to try a different procedure that was currently in use in most parts of Europe but not in the United States. She got permission from the parents and placed both twins in the same incubator. Immediately she closed the door to the incubator, Brielle snuggled to Kyrie and she began to calm down. Improvement on her blood oxygen readings was seen. When she started to doze, Kyrie wrapped her left arm around her baby sister. Brielle’s temperature rose to normal and her heart rate stabilized.

Twins Kyrie and Brielle Jackson
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The twins went home in due time and their parents placed them in the same bed where they continued to thrive. According to the parents, five years later the twins still slept in the same bed and still snuggled.

Kyrie's photograph as she hugged her sister
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Kyrie’s photograph as she hugged her sister appeared in both the Readers Digest and Life Magazine. It was dubbed the “Rescuing Hug”. It made the twins famous and co-bedding premature twins, quads and triplets became a growing interest. For example, the University of Massachusetts, has co-bedded over 100 sets of multiple twins born prematurely. The hospital staff has found no case of infection between the twins after co-bedding them. Additionally, studies have shown there are benefits to placing premature twins in the same bed.

The hug Kyrie gave to her sister changed their lives and the way premature babies are taken care off. This video catches up with the two 17 years later.


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