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Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Modern Day Miracle

Samuel Alexander Armas -
"The Hand Of Hope"
"The Gift Of Life"

Blogger, Ronner Ferez of ‘my-sense-and-sensibility’ added the story of little Samuel Alexander Armas to his web log on December 12th, 2007, entitled The Gift Of Life. The recounting of this story comes at a time when Christmas is just around the corner and it serves to reminds u that miracles do exist.

The famous story of the little boy began August 19th, 1999, when as a 21-week fetus, Samuel underwent a pioneering surgical procedure to correct a spina bifida lesion. The baby was due to be born on December 28th, 1999.

At 21-weeks, this little baby could have been legally aborted. Although showing no signs of brain damage at the time, it was an almost certainty that it would come because his brain was mis-shaped and his spinal cord had formed outside the deformed backbone.

By doing research on the internet, his parents, Julie (nurse) and Alex (engineer) found references to Pioneering surgery being carried out by a team at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Their doctor put them in touch with Dr. Joseph Bruner and a race against time had begun.

The theory behind the surgery is that if attention is give to the spine disorder before the baby is born prevents or limits brain damage, and gives a better chance of healing. It does not cure spina bifida, but it is said to provide a strong chance of limiting the damage through early intervention. The risks, however, are enormous. Controversy surrounds the use of such surgery because it goes against the general medical rule that the risk should not outweigh the benefit.

Because a fetus of 21 weeks cannot live outside the uterus, it was necessary to preform the surgery through a small incision in the uterus. The procedure involved temporarily opening the uterus, draining the amniotic fluid, partially extracting and performing surgery on the tiny fetus, then restoring the fetus to the uterus back inside the mother.

The procedure went well except before closing the incision, the hand or the child reached out and grabbed the surgeon, Dr. Bruner’s finger. The photo was taken be Michael Clancy, who was documenting the procedure for medical journals.

Photographer, Michael Clancy had this to say after the procedure: “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!”

However the surgeon later stated that Samuel and his mother, Julie, were under anesthesia and could not move. "The baby did not reach out," Dr Bruner said. "The baby was anesthetized. The baby was not aware of what was going on."

The baby Samuel Armas was the 54th fetus operated on by the surgical team of Dr.’s Bruner and Noel Tulipan. During the operation Dr. Joseph Bruner was successfully able to alleviate the effects of the opening in Samuel's spine caused by the spina bifida.

In an update on how little Samuel is doing a letter has been received from his parents:

Dear Friends and Family,

Samuel arrived on Thursday, Dec. 2 [1999] at 6:25 pm at Northside Hospital weighing 5 lbs 11 oz and 20 1/2 " long. He was born at 36 weeks but came into the world screaming his head off! He did not have to spend any time in a neonatal unit and came home with us on Monday, Dec. 6. After viewing an ultrasound of his brain, Samuel's neurosurgeon was very optimistic as he does not have any hydrocephalus and the brain malformation has resolved. He is moving his legs very well from the hips and some from the knees. He was frank breech (folded in half) in the womb and the orthopedist feels that he has a good chance for walking. He will begin physical therapy next week in order to work out some of the stiffness in his legs that was a result of his being folded in half in the womb. He is also nursing very well.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We are happier than we ever dreamed possible!

All our love,

Julie, Alex and Samuel Armas


Marja said...

What an amazing story and a most amazing picture of that tiny hand.
All love to Samual and his family

Samantha said...

Gimme, thank you for sharing the story of little Samuel with all of us. He is indeed a little Christmas miracle! Wow! What a picture that was taken of his tiny little hand grabbing ahold of the surgeon's finger. Yet the surgeon says he was anesthetized and couldn't have moved? Things that make ya go Hmmm! I do honestly believe there was a Higher Power involved in this little miracle!

Sophia said...

That is an amazing story! Is there any recent updates to how he is doing now?

jadey said...

What a wonderful story and a beautiful miracle thanks for posting this Gimme.