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10 April 2006 (USA)  »

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A sad but fascinating case that provokes us to consider the medical ethics.
11 February 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

David was a child born with a very rare disorder--he had absolutely no immune system. And, in a stop-gap measure, doctors decided that he would be born in a completely aseptic environment and he would be immediately transferred to a 'bubble' of sorts--to filter and re-filter the air to make this a completely aseptic environment. The hope was that doctors would soon find a cure for the disease and they could remove him from this bizarre environment.

Although David was the only so-called 'bubble boy', his strange story spurred on stories on TV and films. First, there was the John Travolta made for TV movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble". Then "Seinfeld" did a very funny story about a bubble-boy who got in a fight with George. And, there was some dopey movie a few years called "Bubble Boy". Yet, as I said before, David was the only actual kid raised this way. Why, because of two main reasons. First, they could not find the cure they hoped to find. Second, David began to develop serious signs of mental illness--and it astounded me that it sounded as if doctors never anticipated how this weird environment would lead to this! While the film does talk about this and the ethics of putting a child in this weird bubble-like home, I felt that the show could have taken a much stronger stand against such guinea pig-style research on humans. Never did the show talk about the cost and how many others might have been helped instead of one seemingly incurable kid.

Still, despite doctors thinking they are gods and not considering the ethics and the film not really discussing this fully, I must still say that this episode of "The American Experience" still was very interesting and compelling...and very sad. It's worth seeing but I wonder if you, too, might feel a bit angry as you watch. I could understand the parents of David trying ANYTHING to save him--but isn't it up to doctors to consider the ethics? Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean it's best or morally defensible. And, now that I think about it, it would make a great show to show doctors today to spur on such a discussion. like "Frankenstein"--doctors create situation and then abandon their 'experiment'


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