The Rescuing Hug: dying preemie saved by her nurse… and her twin sister!

If someone ever calmed you down or helped you pick up the pieces just by being there for you, perhaps you said, “Thanks. You’re a life saver.” At a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1995, this was literally true.

Twin sisters Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born 12 weeks premature, each weighing only about two pounds. They were put in separate incubators in the hospital’s neonatal ICU. Kyrie was soon thriving but Brielle was struggling, constantly screaming, having trouble breathing, and sometimes turning blue. Within a few days, Brielle’s condition was getting even worse. Gayle Kasparian, a nurse in the ICU, tried everything: she picked the baby up and held her, had her dad hold her, wrapped her in a blanket, and tried to comfort her. Nothing was helping.

Then Gayle remembered a case over in Europe that she’d heard about. What she was about to do didn’t exactly follow hospital rules and regulations, but seeing Brielle’s condition deteriorating was so heartbreaking, she had to try it. Gayle took Brielle over to her sister’s incubator and set her down next to her. Brielle snuggled right up to her sister who then put a tiny arm around her. Incredibly, Brielle’s vital signs improved almost instantly. Her breathing became easier and her color looked a lot better. Since it seemed to be doing the trick, the sisters spent the next few weeks together in the incubator.

A photographer from a local newspaper was at the hospital and snapped a photo of the twins called “The Rescuing Hug.” It got considerable national attention and prompted hospitals to change their procedures, almost certainly saving more tiny lives. Meanwhile, Kyrie and Brielle made it through their difficult early weeks and grew up to be perfectly healthy young ladies. We’ve posted a video about the story for you below.

What are your thoughts about the healing power of touch? Let us know in the comments at Facebook and be sure to like and share!