(Graphic image in article)
An unborn baby was diagnosed with a severe birth defect, and doctors suggested an operation while the baby was still in the womb. Nearing the end of the surgery, a tiny hand stuck out and grasped the doctor’s finger, stunning everyone.
In 1999, Samuel Armas was 21 weeks old in his mother’s womb when he was diagnosed with spina bifida, a severe birth defect. The doctors suggested for Armas to be operated on while still in the womb. It was a risky operation, but his mother, Julie, was determined to save her child.
Dr. Joseph Bruner operated on Armas on Aug. 19. At almost the end of the surgery, the baby’s hand suddenly reached out of the womb and held the doctor’s finger. Michael Clancy, a photographer, quickly captured the amazing moment which was later known as the “Hand of Hope.”
On Dec. 2, four months later, Armas was born and grew up as a normal teenager thanks to the surgery. However, due to the birth defect, Armas needs to wear lower leg braces for the rest of his life. He also uses a wheelchair when traveling long distances.
The “Hand of Hope” photo made Armas a famous baby at the time. In 2009, ten years after his birth, he told Fox News his thoughts on the photograph.
“When I see that picture, the first thing I think of is how special and lucky I am to have God use me that way. I feel very thankful that I was in that picture,” he said.
“It’s just a miracle picture, a miracle moment. It shows the earliest human interaction ever recorded,” Clancy said.
Armas said that the photo might help numerous babies to live, as the touching scene shows that aborting a baby, for whatever reason, is wrong.
“It’s very important to me. A lot of babies would’ve lost their lives if that didn’t happen,” Armas said.
“He identifies it more in terms of a pro-life message more than anything. This photo happened and God used it to show people that this baby in mom’s tummy is alive. He’s pleased that his photo conveyed that message,” Julie said.