In the fall of 1995, two twins were prematurely born, weighing in at just two pounds at birth. The twins, Brielle and Kyrie Jackson of Westminster, Massachusetts, spent the first few weeks in separate incubators fighting for their lives.
Kyrie was the stronger one of the twins; at three ounces heavier she seemed to be thriving in the incubator while Brielle was not. At one point Brielle’s breathing became shallow and her heart rate dropped drastically. The doctors tried everything they could but nothing seemed to be working. Miraculously, a quick thinking nurse decided to put the two in the same incubator. As soon as Kyrie was placed next to her sister, she reached over and put her arm around her. Suddenly, Brielle’s heart stabilized and her temperature returned to normal.
The move was not something that at the time was widely accepted in the American mainstream medical community, but was mimicking something seen around the world called “Kangaroo Care.” It is usually done between a premature baby and the mother or father by placing the infant in direct skin-to-skin contact with the parent. This is supposed to help with emotional bonding as well as keeping the baby warm. A photojournalist just so happened to be at the hospital at the time and captured this miraculous moment. That photo has become known around the world as “The Rescue Hug.”
The fateful move by the nurse was something that not only saved a life — but showed the medical community the profound impact a single touch can have on someone.
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