In 1995, newborn twins, Brielle and Kyrie Jackson, almost died. The sisters were born 12 weeks premature, and their doctors didn't believe they would survive. It wasn't until a nurse decided to do something that would change medicine forever.
The iconic photo of the twins laying on their stomachs while the larger sister reaches her hand over her sister's back has touched millions of people over the years. Decades ago, it was standard practice that twins would be placed in their separate incubators. The reason behind this method is that it would reduce the spread of infections.
At The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester on October 17, 1995, the twins were born. Kyrie, who weighed 2 lbs. 3 oz, was the largest of the two. She was making improvements each and every day, gaining weight, and responding well to treatment.
On the other hand, her sister, Brielle, was declining. She was having difficulty breathing, having heart-rate problems, and she had low oxygen levels. She also struggled to gain weight. The outcome didn't look good.
Almost a month later, Brielle went into critical condition. Her skin turned a blue-grey color, she began to gasp for air, and her heart rate skyrocketed.
The sister's nurse just knew she had to do something or at least try. Many people say that during desperate times call for desperate measures. This was a desperate time.
Nurse Gayle Kasparian tried everything in the books. After exhausting all the standard United States procedures, she decided, with the parent's permission, to try a foreign practice that is used in Europe.
The nurse removed Kyrie and Brielle from their separate incubators and placed them in one. Nurse Gayle recalls seeing Brielle scoot closer to Kyrie not long after she closed the incubator's door. Brielle's blood-oxygen levels began to stabilize after their bodies touched. As she began to calm down, Kyrie reached her arm over her sister — soon Brielle's heart rate sustained and her body temperature was back to normal.
After the girls were strong enough to go home, their parents continued having them sleep together in the same bed. According to their parents, five years later the girls would still share a bed.
The photo of the twins together has been known as the "Rescuing Hug." Their story was featured in Life magazine and in Reader's Digest.
Their survival story brought many researchers the idea to study the co-bedding method with premature twins. Fortunately, many studies surfaced producing the facts that co-bedding was indeed safe.
The University of Massachusetts Memorial studied 100 sets of several premature babies, observing the co-bedding practice for a five year period. They did not find a single case where infection occurred.
Check out the girls' full story below:
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