The Rescue Hug: The Image That Changed the History of Medicine

The Rescue Hug: The Image That Changed the History of Medicine

Sometimes, medicine presents situations that defy all logic, pushing it to limits we never thought possible, as was the case with “The Rescue Hug.” This is what happened with the twins Brielle and Kyrie, two identical sisters born in 1995, who, by a twist of fate, entered the world prematurely at just twelve weeks of gestation.

The Miraculous Rescue Hug

The Rescue Hug: The Image That Changed the History of Medicine

On October 17, 1995, two identical twin sisters were born, only 12 weeks into their gestation. At that time, the protocol in the United States mandated that both babies be placed in separate incubators and not have any contact with each other to prevent infections.

Unfortunately, while Kyrie was progressing well, gaining weight and getting stronger, Brielle’s condition worsened, with difficulty breathing. Her oxygen levels had dropped significantly, and she had not gained any weight.

Almost a month later, on November 12, Brielle was in a much more critical condition. Her arms and legs had turned blue as she struggled intensely to breathe. Furthermore, her heart rate had accelerated, and both family and doctors were preparing for the worst.

Despite specialists taking all known measures to save the baby, her condition showed no improvement. However, there was one last option that had not been considered by the doctors. Nurse Gayle Kasparian approached the family and asked for permission to try a method that was already popular in Europe at the time: placing both babies in the same incubator.

Knowing they had nothing to lose, parents Heidi and Paul Jackson agreed, and the girls were placed side by side. With the little strength she had left, Brielle cuddled up to her sister, and miraculously, her heart began to stabilize.

A Miraculous Recovery

The Rescue Hug: The Image That Changed the History of Medicine

Within minutes, the levels of oxygen in the small baby began to rise, and slowly, her skin regained its normal color. What happened next was the most touching moment in the lives of the hospital staff and the twins’ family: while Brielle was asleep, Kyrie moved her arm and embraced her sister completely. This was the final thing the more affected sister needed for her body temperature to normalize.

It was at that moment that the famous photograph known as the “Rescue Hug” was taken.

Once they were stabilized, they were discharged and handed over to their parents, who continued therapy at home. They were placed in the same crib, which led to a complete improvement in both. Even five years later, the sisters were still sharing the same bed.

Kyrie’s rescue hug captured the attention of the worldwide media. Television networks like CNN and magazines like Life Magazine covered the story, and thousands of doctors offered to study this method in premature twins, triplets, or quadruplets.

Furthermore, this case prompted the University of Massachusetts Memorial+ to analyze around a hundred cases of premature babies who shared an incubator with their sibling. The results showed that in 100% of the cases, the babies remained healthy or showed improvements. Not a single case of infection was found.

Today, at the age of 28, Brielle and Kyrie continue to share the same bond and closeness. Each lives her own life, but they never forget that Kyrie’s rescue hug allowed Brielle to live and continue sharing the moments that life gives them.

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Acerca de Erick Sumoza

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