TV Show Re-Enacts Unborn Baby Samuel's Hand Grasp of Surgeon's Finger

| 3 Comments

I wonder how many millions watched the TV show "HOUSE" last night, saw the tiny human hand of the unborn baby ("FETUS!" as the character Gregory House kept hissing up till that point) reach out during its fetal surgery to firmly and lengthily grasp House's rubber-gloved finger, and thought to themselves, "Oh, that would never happen in real life!"

I was jumping out of my chair with joy when I saw the scene! It really did happen in real life! That's where they got the scene idea from! They didn't make it up, they ripped it right from the (pro-life) headlines:

the actual photo of Baby Samuel Armas grasping his surgeon's finger (scroll down the post a bit). [We displayed this photo by Michael Clancy, www.michaelclancy.com - with permission for the After Abortion site only; read Michael's comments to us here]
Read the story of how Samuel reacted to the brush of the surgeon's finger by grabbing it in his fist and when the surgeon tried to jostle Samuel's little hand, the little guy sort of "finger-wrestled" with the doc.

You can see Samuel at age 3 and a half in this photo here.

The House character was mesmerized by the completely human movement of the baby's hand, by its grip, by its life, and stood there transfixed for at least a minute, even gently pressing his thumb to the tiny fist in a sort of handshake. After that, House began calling the "fetus" a baby and seemed to regret having advised the mom to abort even though her own life was in danger.

The show ended with House returning home, alone as usual, sitting down and contemplating the truth of what he had experienced, lightly rubbing together his fingertips that had been on the receiving end of that tiny baby's grateful grasp.

When I saw the previews for this show, I thought, "Oh no, not another abortion recommendation from House. Wouldn't it be great if they did a Baby-Samuel-hand-grasp-during-fetal-surgery instead?"

The House character has become increasingly caustic and despicable this season. I wonder if this is an indication of his humanity returning, even just a little.

I applaud the writers and actors for this bold episode.


Cross-posted on After Abortion

3 Comments

The episode and moment were both very touching, but the Samuel hand-grab photo is actually not him grabbing for the surgeon.

"What actually took place, as described in news reports of the surgery, was that:
[J]ust as surgeon Dr. Joseph Bruner was closing the incision in Julie Armas' uterus, Samuel's thumbnail-sized hand flopped out. Bruner lifted it gently and tucked it back in.2
(The dubious veracity of the photographer's version of events is highlighted by the disclaimer he appended to it on his web site, stating that it represented his "opinion of the events as they took place during the surgery for Samuel.")

The surgeon, Dr. Bruner, later elaborated on some of the exaggerated and false claims made about the photograph:
"It has become an urban legend," says Bruner, the Vanderbilt University surgeon who fixed the spina bifida lesion on Samuel. Many people he hears from wonder whether it's a fake.

"One person said the photo had been reviewed by a team of medical experts and they had determined that it was a hoax," Bruner says with a laugh.

More commonly, people want to know how the photo came to be.

Some opponents of abortion have claimed that the baby reached through the womb and grabbed the doctor's hand.

Not true, Bruner says.

Samuel and his mother, Julie, were under anesthesia and could not move.

"The baby did not reach out," Bruner says. "The baby was anesthetized. The baby was not aware of what was going on.""

http://www.snopes.com/photos/medical/thehand.asp

It was still a beautiful episode that is bound to make people think, but in this case, not entirely accurate.

POST AUTHOR's NOTE: we were given this same information over on our blog, thanks! We've addressed this in a followup post, here, http://www.prolifeblogs.com/articles/archives/2007/04/is_baby_samuel.php

Tay,

You are absolutely wrong! I am the photographer that took the picture of Samuel reaching from the womb you are quoting a doctor that placed Vanderbilt's entire fetal surgery program in jeopardy by allowing a newspaper photographer into his operating room. What was he thinking? It couldn't have been more obvious that I was the only one shocked Samuel reached from the womb, completely on his own. It was not the first time it had happened.

You are obviously pro choice and just using the only thing you have, (snopes) to attempt to discredit the most life affirming proof that at 21 week in utero the child is a reactive human being. Why didn't you post this quote from the original article by USA Today reporter, Robert Davis, published Sept. 7th, 1999.... "In a crowded operating room where outsiders have gathered to watch a rare medical event, surgery on a fetus still in his mother's womb, a stool falls with a loud bang, "Hush," says Joseph Bruner, the doctor leading the operation, "you'll wake the baby."

Blessings, Michael Clancy

www.michaelclancy.com

But...a baby in the womb can feel pain, right?

So why would they operate without anesthesia?

*** POST AUTHOR'S REMARK:

First question: We do have reason to believe a baby at 21 or 22 weeks does feel pain in the womb, but there are still many others, including doctors who dispute that.

A cursory look at my not-updated research notes shows this quote:

"In a speech by then President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters in 1984-JAN, he said 'When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.'

"This belief was denied by some experts. However a group of 'professors, including pain specialists and two past presidents of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology' wrote a letter to President Reagan supporting his statement. They wrote:

"'We state categorically that no finding of modern fetology invalidates the remarkable conclusion drawn after a lifetime of research by the late Professor Arnold Gesell of Yale University. In The Embryology of Behavior: The Beginnings of the Human Mind (1945, Harper Bros.), Dr. Gesell wrote, "and so by the close of the first trimester the fetus is a sentient, moving being. We need not speculate as to the nature of his psychic attributes, but we may assert that the organization of his psychosomatic self is well under way."' "

Second question: Allow me to quote an email from the photographer Michael Clancy, quoting an email he just received from a woman who'd heard Dr. Bruner speak back then:

"A lady from Australia emailed me and claimed she attended a seminar Dr. Bruner gave. She said she will never forget the entire audience gasped as Bruner stated the entire procedure is done on the child in utero without any anesthesia. He claimed the nervous system was not developed enough to feel pain. Samuel was given no anesthesia for this procedure. What anesthesia he received was from his mother being under general anesthesia. When Samuel reached out he endangered his life and his mother's life. It's that simple."

Why was that significant?

"If Bruner was to admit Samuel came out from under what little anesthesia he received from Julie being under general anesthesia and reached from the womb, Vanderbilt's entire Fetal Surgery Program would have been in jeopardy. Because it risked both lives."

It makes perfect sense to me. How many mothers would willingly risk their own lives knowing this was possible or even likely to happen (as evidenced by the commonness of the occurrence witnessed by nurses).

So this explains a bit more as to why Dr. Bruner didn't tell the truth. He has since left Vanderbilt and in fact his new bio and employer seem to have entirely left out his Vanderbilt record. That will be updated over the weekend hopefully on our After Abortion blog, and if I have time, cross-posted here in a separate entry.

www.afterabortion.blogspot.com





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