The Vetter family really wanted a son. Their firstborn died 7 months after birth due to a rare genetic disorder – severe combined immunodeficiency.
After the family had a daughter, the thought of a son did not leave the couple. Turning to doctors, Carroll-Ann and David learned the disappointing news – if they have a son again, then with a probability of 50% he will also inherit an immunodeficiency transmitted through the male line.
But the couple still decided to try their luck. And in 1971, David Philip Vetter was born. After his birth, he had to be immediately placed in a sterile plastic bubble.
He lived with him until he was 12 years old. Anything that came inside had to be thoroughly disinfected.
And parents could only touch their son with gloves attached inside the bubble. Any germ from outside could kill the boy.
Of course, life in such conditions was terribly difficult. Although doctors and parents tried to create comfortable conditions for him.
David grew up irritable and realized that he would never become like everyone else.
At the age of 4, the boy punctured the bubble with a syringe left by a nurse. But his parents began to scare him with stories of dangerous germs, and the boy developed quite a phobia.
After 12 years, Carroll-Ann and David decided to take a very serious step. Doctors assured that the boy had a 50% chance of recovery after a bone marrow transplant from his sister.
They managed to convince their parents and the operation took place. But, unfortunately, it turned out to be fatal.
The Epstein-Barr virus lived in the sister’s bone marrow, causing infection and the almost instant development of lymphoma.
David Philip Vetter left in 1984. And this story became very revealing in matters of medical ethics.
After all, doctors tried to stall for 12 years and continue the experiment until at least some information could be extracted from it.