The Colorado Springs infant survived surgery to remove what was believed to be a tumor when he was just 3 days old.
"The doctors said to us, 'This one is for the books,' " mom Tiffnie Esquibel said.
Inside the microscopic tumor was what looked like the formations of two feet, a hand and thigh.
"To find a perfectly formed structure (like this) is extremely unique, unusual, borderline unheard of," said Dr. Paul Grabb, the veteran pediatric neurosurgeon who performed the operation on Sam at Colorado Springs' Memorial Hospital for Children.
As for what this could mean to science books, Grabb said he did not pursue it because it was not vital to saving Sam, although he did say it gave insight to stem-cell research.
"How does the body form complete extremities? Who is to say we can't grow a heart, leg or foot?" Grabb said. "This could show a window of what's possible."
At 41 weeks into Esquibel's pregnancy, an ultrasound showed fluid in Sam's brain, and an emergency cesarean section was scheduled. The infant appeared healthy, but was given an MRI exam to be sure.
"If they hadn't done the (testing), the hospital said they would have sent Sam home with me," Esquibel said. "He just seemed as healthy as can be."
The MRI ultimately revealed a tumor, and at 3 days old, Sam underwent a two-hour surgery to remove it.
"I was absolutely devastated," Esquibel said. "We didn't know if he'd make it through the surgery or not, and it was a 50-50 percent chance the tumor could be cancerous."
Two and half months later, Sam has mostly recovered. Now that the sutures have healed, the infant is scheduled for 25 sessions of physical therapy to improve use of the right side of his head and neck.
"You'd never know if he didn't have a scar there," his mom said. ""