READ THIS FIRST (then check out the foto)
Handshake -

It should be "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, Picture of the
It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which
published it, you probably will never see it. It is that of a
unborn baby named Samuel Alexander, who is being operated
on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive removed
his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Alexander, is an
obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable
procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in
he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via a C-section and
makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr. Bruner completed
surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully
developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's

In a Time Europe article highlighting new pregnancy imagery that shows
formation of major organs and other significant evidence of the
formation of
human life Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was
grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an
instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. The
photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The
titled the picture, "Hand of Hope."

The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander emerges from the
mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking
doctor for the gift of life." Little Samuel's mother said they "wept
days" when they saw the picture. She said, "The photo reminds us my
pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little
Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 per cent
Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome...incredible.

Alas, Snopes has featured this one too...

pictures accompanying the text quoted above are real in that they are indeed photographs taken during a revolutionary fetal procedure undertaken on 19 August 1999 to fix the spina bifida lesion of a 21-week-old fetus in the womb. The operation was performed by a surgical team at Vanderbilt University in Nashville which developed a technique for correcting fetal problems in mid-pregnancy by temporarily removing the uterus, draining the amniotic fluid, performing surgery on the tiny fetus, then restoring the uterus back inside the mother. The patient shown above, Samuel Armas, was the 54th fetus operated on by the surgical team; Dr. Joseph Bruner, the surgeon whose hands are pictured above, alleviated the effects of the opening in Samuel's spine caused by the spina bifida, a congenital disease that often leads to paralysis and other problems. Pictures from the surgery were printed in a number of newspapers in the U.S. and around the world, including USA Today, and, thanks to the remarkable surgical procedure performed by the Nashville team, little Samuel was born healthy on 2 December 1999.

However, it is not true, as described in the accompanying text, that these photographs were taken as Samuel's hand "emerged from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life," or that Dr. Bruner said "when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life." This misinformation has been propagated by many different sources, including the photographer who took the pictures:
As a doctor asked me what speed of film I was using, out of the corner of my eye I saw the uterus shake, but no one's hands were near it. It was shaking from within. Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. 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. I took the picture! Wow! It happened so fast that the nurse standing next to me asked, "What happened?"

"The child reached out," I said.

"Oh. They do that all the time," she responded.1
What actually happened, 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 his appended disclaimer stating that it represents his "opinion of the events as they took place during the surgery for Samuel.")

Dr. Bruner later elaborated on some of the exaggerated and false claims made about this picture:
"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."
Thanks Stickybomb, that gives, as I suspected, a less romantic but more realistic aspect. Absolutely no disrespect meant to you EXBQMS but projecting our adult thoughts experiences and expectations onto an instinctive hand movement is (very) distantly akin to thinking that a dog understands the word 'sit'.
As it's been debunked , and not news .

Into the Int.Cell it goes :D
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