21-week-old child reaches out and grabs a doctor by the finger. 16 years later…

This extremely moving image came to light 17 years ago. On August 19th, 1999, a team of doctors from Nashville had conducted surgery on a 21-week old fetus. Julie Armas’ child was diagnosed with spina bifida. Without the intervention of doctors, the toddler would probably not have survived.

Dr. Bruner of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center undertook this difficult task. When the surgery was coming to an end, something incredible happened. The child reached out with its tiny hand and grabbed him by the finger. It looked as if little Samuel was thanking for his help.


The New York Times hailed the photo the “Hand of Hope.” The doctor said that it was the most emotional moment in his entire life. Under the influence of emotion, he stood still for a few seconds, which allowed these beautiful photographs to be taken. Four months later, thanks to the successful surgery, Samuel Armas was born.



Currently, he is 16 years old. By using orthopedic braces which stabilize the joints, he is able to move. For longer distances, he needs a wheelchair. The disability doesn’t bother him in everyday life. He lives and behaves like any normal teenager, loves to swim and play basketball.