The Power of Hugs











The origins of this touching story about the healing power of sibling love first made its appearance on the internet in April 2000. It has been documented as a true story.


Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born prematurely on 17 October 1995 at the Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA. Each of the twins weighed all of two pounds at birth. Though Kyrie was putting on a bit of weight in the days following her arrival, Brielle was not doing so well. She cried a great deal, leaving her gasping and blue faced.

Brielle was having a particularly bad day. NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) nurse Gayle Kasparian tried everything to soothe and calm the baby. She held her. She had her dad hold her. She wrapped her in a blanket. She suctioned her nose. She sang to her. Nothing worked.

Then, she remembered hearing about a procedure done in Europe. This was completely against Hospital policy, but nothing else was working so she decided to give it a go. She decided to remove Brielle from her incubator and place her in the other one next to her sister Kyrie. As soon as the twins were placed together Kyrie, the stronger of the two, reached her arm over and ‘hugged’ onto her sister. Brielle’s blood-oxygen saturation levels, which had been critically low, soared. Her heart rate returned to normal levels and her temperature normalised.  She began to breathe more easily. The frantic crying stopped and her normal pinkish colour quickly returned. Over the next weeks, her health improved steadily.

This procedure was continued whenever Gayle was on the ward. Noticing the dramatic improvement in Brielle’s condition other nurses, and eventually the doctors, continued the practice at every opportunity.

Both Jackson girls not only survived but thrived over the nest few months and are now happy young school girls, somewhat unaware of their history making start to life. The Jackson girls are included in the pages of history at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital as the first co-bedding of premature twins. A practice which has proven to be successful and popular around the world.

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