If a friend ever helped you get through something, whether by giving you a hug or just by being there, you might have said, “Thanks — you’re a life saver.” For a premature baby at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, this appears to have been literally true.
When they were born, twin sisters Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were 12 weeks premature and weighed only about two pounds each. The tiny girls were immediately placed in separate incubators in the hospital’s neonatal ICU. After a couple of weeks, Kyrie was thriving but Brielle was having serious problems, constantly screaming and having trouble breathing to the point that she sometimes turned blue. As Brielle’s condition worsened, Gayle Kasparian, a nurse in the ICU, tried everything she could think of: picking the baby up and holding her, having her dad hold her, and wrapping her in a blanket. Despite the nurse’s efforts to comfort her, nothing was working.
Luckily, Gayle remembered a case from Europe that she’d heard about. What she did next wasn’t exactly in accord with the hospital’s rules and regulations, but seeing Brielle slipping away was so heartbreaking, she just had give it a try. She took Brielle over to the other incubator and placed her next to her twin sister. Brielle immediately snuggled up to Kyrie, who then put her arm around her. The astonishing thing is that Brielle’s vital signs improved right away and her breathing became easier. The twins spent the next few weeks together in their incubator.
A photographer from a local newspaper happened to be on assignment at the hospital and he snapped a photo of the twins called “The Rescuing Hug.” The image appeared in news outlets all over the nation and, even better, prompted hospitals to make some changes to their procedures, almost certainly saving more tiny lives. Incidentally, Kyrie and Brielle grew up to be perfectly healthy young ladies.
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