The Tragedy of the Boy in the Bubble

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The Boy in the Bubble is about David Vetter; a boy was born with a rare hereditary disease, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), meaning his body had no immune system to fight off diseases of any sort. He stayed in a plastic isolator bubble environments while waiting for a matching bone marrow donor or a cure for his ailment. The parents of David tried to give him as much of a normal life as they could, and he had schooling, played with friends that would come over and had a psychologist that would come to work with him.

The doctors kept him in the bubble because if they let him out, germs would kill him within almost two weeks. However, he became a guinea pig to the doctors and psychologists because they would constantly test and try out things on David. I don’t think that it was ethical of the doctors to keep him in this isolated bubble just to keep him alive. This is because of many reasons. David, because of his condition, and the medicine and technology that was available at the time, could never live a normal life.

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His parents naturally wanted him to, so they put him in the bubble, but it is impossible to live a fulfilling life and not go crazy while be confined to a bubble. David had verbal communication with people outside the bubble, but no physical contact. Physical contact, especially as an infant, is extremely important and necessary for human beings. We thrive on it. David, without it, will feel alone and this could lead to his depression. While other kids were on summer break, David would see them outside through his plastic bubble and be upset that that would never be him.

He couldn’t ever play with other children. Another factor of why his life is unhealthy is that as David grew older, he will come to realize that he isn’t like everyone else, and won’t ever be able to have a normal life. He was able to learn, but he began to question why it was necessary for him to learn if he couldn’t ever do anything with it. He began to come to the conclusion that his life was worthless, and essentially it was. His parents didn’t realize this, because they thought that he could be happy just because he was alive, even though he was refrained to his bubble.

However, we as human beings get our happiness not only from ourselves, but a major part of it comes from our relationships with other people. David will never get the chance to have these intimate relationships. The longer David is in the bubble, and the older he becomes, the more his brain allowed him to think about his situation and the more depressed he became. I think that it is not ethically right of what they did, keeping him in the bubble until he was twelve years old. Over time, towards the end of his time in the bubble, David was beginning to go insane, which is predictable to happen from the conditions that he was in.

Anyone in his position would have gone insane as well. There is no way not to from the previous reasons that I mentioned. One of the doctors described him as, “a rat in a cage” not only because of his irrational and psychotic state, but because of the tests the doctors would perform and treat him like a lab rat by giving him shots and taking his blood which caused him a lot of pain. I think the ethically correct thing to do would have been to take him out of the bubble, and although he would die soon after, he wouldn’t have had to suffer consistently, both mentally and physically, throughout his life in the bubble.

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The Tragedy of the Boy in the Bubble. (2016, Dec 12). Retrieved from

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