Thursday, December 7, 2017

Can a hug save a life?

Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were twins born on October 17, 1995, at the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester. They were premature -- a full 12 weeks before their due date. The girls were placed in separate incubators to reduce the risk of infection. Kyrie, who weighed 2 lbs, 3 oz, made good progress and gained weight. But Brielle had breathing problems. She gained little weight and her oxygen level was low. On November 12, Brielle went into critical condition. Her arms and legs turned bluish gray as she gasped for breath. That's when nurse Gayle Kasparian tried a procedure common in Europe but unknown in the United States. She placed both twins in the same bed.

As soon as the incubator door closed, Brielle snuggled up to Kyrie and calmed down. As she dozed, Kyrie wrapped her left arm around her smaller sister. Brielle's heart rate stabilized and her temperature rose to normal. In due time, the twins went home, and their parents placed them in the same bed. Even after five years, the twins still slept together.

Since then, University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital has co-bedded at least 100 sets of premature twins, and has never found a single case of infection. Studies have shown the twins enjoy substantial benefits when placed together in the same bed.

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