In an episode drawn in part from the photo seen round the world, an episode of Fox’s t.v. show House M.D. last night featured surgery of a preborn baby who grasped his surgeon’s hand. The show centered on the topic of abortion, with the sanctity of life winning.
You can read a detailed recap of the episode here, but reader Jeff provided a less technical and more compressed synopsis….
I will be surprised if last night’s stirring episode of House M.D. on Fox doesn’t roil the pro-abortion squad. It depicted a show-long debate about abortion among various doctors treating a 42-year-old, 21-week pregnant single woman on the verge of dying.
The diagnosis after many tests was that the problem was with the fetus (or baby, depending on the point of view). Dr. House decided to terminate the pregnancy, to which a number of other doctors agreed.
But the expectant mother would not authorize the abortion. So a decision was made to perform a prenatal open womb surgery on the baby in an attempt to save both the mother and child. Dr. House, who is a hardened, calculating type, was nearly moved to tears when the baby’s tiny hand protruded through the mother’s open wound during surgery and appeared to stroke the doctor’s hand! It was an extraordinarily moving moment.
(JLS note: The show synopsis described this scene, “When House cuts into the uterus, the fetus’s arm emerges, tenderly grabbing House’s finger. House freezes, staring at the tiny hand in awe. Despite his earlier insistence that this is a fetus and not a baby, he seems moved by the moment.”)
[Freelance photographer Michael Clancy took this photo at a Vanderbilt University hospital in 1999 during a new en utero surgical procedure to treat spina bifida of a 21-week-old baby boy named Samuel Armas, now seven.]
At the end of the show, Dr. House was shown reflecting on the moment of touch and perhaps examining his own life and values.
It will be interesting to learn of the reactions to this show, which clearly took a pro-life position.
Update, 10:40a: Jeff informed me that the aforementioned House M.D. clip is available for viewing on AOL’s Top Five today. Go here. It’s beautiful. Be sure to vote for it as the #1 clip of the day.