How ‘The Bubble Boy’ Changed Medicine

Anna Green

In 1971, David Vetter was born with a rare genetic defect called severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which left him without a functioning immune system. In order to be protected from life-threatening infections—the same condition had killed his older brother, an infant, just a year before—Vetter grew up inside a plastic bubble. The media quickly picked up his strange story and, calling him the “bubble boy,” vaulted him to international fame. Though Vetter died at age 12, his story helped spark major innovations in the field of medicine.

In the short documentary “The Boy in the Bubble,” The New York Times tells the story of Vetter and his legacy. In a moving interview, Vetter’s mother discusses the difficulties of raising a child with SCID and the publicity storm that surrounded his upbringing. The documentary provides a fascinating peek inside David's world, and examines the impact he had on modern medicine and the American media. Check it out above. 

[h/t: New York Times]

Banner Image Credit: Samuel Ng, YouTube