Break the Chain Handshake from the Womb

Created 7/23/2002 (7/23/2002) Amazing photographs have become commonplace on the Internet. Astute chain-breakers have learned, however, that you should always be skeptical about the stories circulating with them. This is one of the rare example where the photo and story both check out, but there are still a few caveats.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subject: Fwd: Little Samuel

Read before you open the picture!

A picture began circulating in November. It should be "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, "Picture of the Decade." The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. During the surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity.

The editors titled the picture, "Hand of Hope." The text explaining the picture begins, "The tiny hand of 21-week-old foetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life. "Little Samuel's mother said they "wept for 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 person. "Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome...incredible. And hey, pass it on. The world needs to see this one!

Little Samuel

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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The photograph is real and the story accompanying it is correct... for now. The e-mail chain letter is a paraphrase of an article that appeared in the October 30, 1999 issue of the Irish Independent. USA Today reported on the miraculous surgery and photograph on September 7, 2002, nearly two months earlier.

Interpretations of what this photograph means or proves is beyond the scope of BreakTheChain.org. However, attentive chain-breakers should be on the lookout for versions of this chain letter that erroneously allege that the media/military/government doesn't want you to see this picture. The picture is more than three years old and has been featured in many newspapers around the world. The conspiracy theory just doesn't stand up.

Also note that as the chain circulates, minor changes continue to be made to the text. It's only a matter of time before enough changes are made to make it ring false. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: For the Kids
References: Snopes.com, TruthOrFiction.com

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