New Mama Musings

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Boy in the Bubble

Last night I watched a documentary on PBS about David Vetter, the "boy in the bubble" (who coincidentally was born the same year I was). I missed the first fifteen minutes because Henry took longer to get to sleep than usual, but what I saw really disturbed me.

To a new mom practicing attachment parenting, seeing a little boy who never experienced human touch was distressing. Forget babywearing, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and all the other AP tenets mainstream American society finds extreme -- this child didn't even get to experience normal levels of attachment. To see him confined, like a lab rat, sucking his thumb and staring off into space, was heartbreaking.

One of the psychiatrists who worked with him said, "He certainly identifies [his parents] as special people," but compared to other three-year-olds, his attachment to his parents was "nowhere near as intense."

The ethics of this "experiment" were questioned at the time, but once he was contained in a sterile environment, to remove him was to condemn him to certain death. He finally passed away at the age of twelve after an experimental bone marrow transplant operation.


  • oh, how awful...

    I am a very big believer in quality of life. I cannot imagine making that choice for my child--especially if "experimental".

    How completely heartbreaking...

    By Anonymous bfmomma, at 2:05 PM  

  • My gosh, that is heartbreaking. I'm all weepy now.

    By Anonymous chasmyn, at 7:44 PM  

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