LifeNews 7 January 2015
For the Armas family, one picture meant much more than a thousand words.
In August 1999, doctors diagnosed Samuel Armas—who was still in his mother’s womb—with spina bifida, a congenital disorder that causes deformation of the spinal cord. To prevent her future son from suffering severe neurological damage, Armas’s mother, who was 21 weeks pregnant when the diagnosis was received, underwent prenatal surgery.
Photojournalist Michael Clancy was sent by USA Today to document the unique procedure, which had been introduced less than two decades prior.
During the surgery, Clancy witnessed something remarkable.
“Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening [of the exposed uterus], then pulled back until just a little hand was showing,” Clancy wrote on his personal blog. “The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor’s finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist. Samuel held firm.”
Fifteen years later, the iconic photograph Clancy captured during that moment continues to inspire hope across the globe.