Severe Combined Immunodeficiency

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency


On September 21, 1971, an infant was born with severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID). The family and physicians involved, knowing that the baby had an even chance of having the fatal illness, had the child delivered by cesarean section and then sealed in a plastic chamber. Frequent newspaper reports on â??David the bubble boyâ? continued through the years, as he was moved to larger and larger chambers. The absolute devotion of his family, coupled with approximately $200,000 per year in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and extraordinary and imaginative technology, allowed David to remain free from contact with organisms and to celebrate his twelfth birthday. After attempted treatment of bone marrow previously treated using monoclonal antibodies, David died on February 22, 1984.

Answer this question:

If David were born next week instead of in 1971, do you think that we should begin the ever-more demanding bubble process? Whatever your answer, defend it using rational ethical criteria.

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