When David Vetter was born by caesarian section at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston on September 21, 1971, doctors knew that his life was at risk. The danger was so severe, in fact, that the medics had only seconds to act.
The tiny baby was immediately transferred to a completely sterile environment. That was how the child who was to become known as “the boy in the bubble” entered what for him was an intensely hostile world. Because of the genetic condition he was born with, the sterile cocoon that he was moved to was the only safe place for him to be.
David’s parents, David Vetter, Jr. and Carol Vetter, had already experienced tragedy. Some 16 months before the birth of David, they’d had another son, their first, David Joseph Vetter, III. His short life had lasted only seven months before his death in November 1970. Moreover, the Vetters and their doctors knew that their second son had a 50-50 chance of being born with the very condition that had killed their first son.