Last updated Sep 30, 2011
Hand of Hope
By David Emery
Netlore Archive: Viral image shows the hand of a 21-week-old fetus, given the name Samuel Alexander Armas, grasping the finger of a surgeon performing a prenatal operation.
Description: Forwarded email / Viral image
Circulating since: 1999
Analysis: See last page
Email contributed by a reader, March 2, 2003:
Subject: Tiny Hand Of Hope
A picture began circulating in November. It should be "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, "Picture of the Decade." It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the paper, you probably will never see it. The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner.
The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.
During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. During the surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger.
The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, "Hand of Hope." The text explaining the picture begins, "The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life."
Little Samuel's mother said they "wept for days" when they saw the picture.
She said, "The photo reminds us my pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person" "The Hand" of the fetus. You can see the actual picture, and it is awesome...incredible.
Pass it on.. The world needs to see this one.