The tiny hand

In the absolute center of the photo above is a tiny hand reaching thru a mother's uterus. The tiny hand is holding onto a doctor's finger. What looks like blood and gore are the mom's innards. The photo and an accompanying news piece were online at Irish Independent Newspaper Online on Nov. 21, 1999. The piece seemed to credit Paul Harris as the reporter. However, it also said that Robert Davis reported on the operation for USA Today. The words below are snippets and paraphrases from the piece at Irish Independent Newspaper Online:

The tiny hand of a fetus [Latin for "baby"] reaches out from a mother's womb to clasp a surgeon's healing finger. The fetus is at 21 weeks gestation. The tiny hand in the picture belongs to a baby due to be born Dec. 28, 1999. The picture was taken during surgery performed on the fetus to help control the effects of spina bifida. The hope is that the surgery will save the baby from serious brain damage. The surgery was carried out entirely through the tiny slit visible in the wall of the mother's uterus.

The fetus is a boy, Samuel Alexander Armas. The spina bifida left part of his spinal cord exposed. The operation was to close the gap and protect the cord. The surgery was done without removing Samuel from his mom's uterus. The parents are Julie and Alex Armas of Georgia.

The surgeon whose finger is in the photo is Dr. Joseph Bruner. He is connected with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Alice Marie Beard