Who inspired the film The Boy in the Bubble that Prince Harry mentioned during chat with Gabor Mate?
Prince Harry revealed tonight that until he started therapy he felt like he was living in a bubble, making a comparison to the movie The Boy in the Bubble during an interview with trauma expert Gabor Maté.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, answered questions from Dr Maté during the ‘intimate conversation’ about ‘living with loss and personal healing’, with the £17-a-head tickets including a copy of his memoir, Spare.
During the conversation, which began with the royal insistence that he does not see himself as a victim, which Dr Maté spoke about ahead of the interview, the prince had described how therapy ultimately helped him “burst the bubble.”
Harry replied, ‘I think… I’m still not sure to this day if it was one bubble or if it was several bubbles.
“It’s interesting, the movie The Boy in the Bubble, it kind of felt that way.”
Prince Harry revealed during his interview tonight that before receiving therapy he felt like he was living in a bubble, referring to the documentary The Boy in the Bubble
He added that “(his) own self may have been distorted by (the) environment in which (he) was confined.”
The documentary the royal family referenced, The Boy in the Bubble, tells the story of Texan David Vetter, who spent his entire life trapped in a sterilized plastic bubble, reportedly without direct human contact until shortly before he died at 12- age in 1984.
This was because he suffered from severe combined immune deficiency. When David was born in In September 1971, his parents David and Carol-Anne knew he had a one in two chance of developing the condition.
Unfortunately, its older brother, also called David, died after eight months. So when David was born by emergency cesarean section at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, he was immediately placed in a sterile bubble until tests were performed to see if he had inherited the congenital disease.
Medics had told the Vetter family there was a good chance his sister Katherine would provide a perfect bone marrow match that could be used for a transplant to rebuild his immune system.
Dr. Raphael Wilson believed the bubble would protect David until the transplant worked. He had pioneered the technique on mice, and the child would be his first human patient.
The bubble was supposed to be a temporary measure, but after his sister’s blood was tested, medics found the match wasn’t close enough to risk a transplant.
It was provided by NASA, who even manufactured a special spacesuit that he could use to walk David out, although he only wore it six times.
Medical professionals such as Dr. William Shearer (pictured, left) used David’s case (pictured, right) to learn more about SCID. The young boy lived his entire 12 years in the bubble
Doctors hoped the bubble would be just a temporary arrangement until he could get a bone marrow transplant
According to a documentary about PBSeverything David used in his bubble had to be specially sterilized – even the holy water with which he was baptized.
Growing up, David had school lessons in his bubble and even had a TV set.
The youngster even had a special transport bubble so he could spend some time at home with his family.
But his life was one of constant noise, thanks to the compressor that kept his bubble inflated and the filters used to scrub the air to prevent bacteria from entering his cocoon.
Speaking to Barak Goodman’s documentary, his mother said, “In the early years, David never questioned why he was in a bubble. It was routine for him to have his mother hold him in black gloves. In the beginning, David’s needs were very simple.
“But as he got older, it got harder. I think for us the summers were particularly difficult. I noticed that David spent a lot of time staring out the window.
WHAT IS SEVERE COMBINED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME?
SCID is a genetic disorder that results in a poor antibody response to germs.
It is the most severe form of primary immunodeficiency and can be caused by one of nine different gene mutations.
It is also known as the bubble boy disease because David Vetter became famous for living in a sterile bubble for 12 years.
Patients are usually affected by serious infections early in life, including pneumonia, meningitis and ear infections.
If left untreated, the babies usually die within a year.
The most common treatment is a bone marrow transplant.
‘And he saw young boys on bicycles or he saw children tumbling in the grass. I felt a sadness for him.’
As he grew older, David’s plight created serious ethical problems. If he left his bubble, he would die, but the quality of his life was worth all the sacrifices.
Then the younger self began to question his own future. At the age of nine, he wanted to know if he could ever lead a normal life.
Finally, a team of scientists in Boston said they had developed a bone marrow transplant method that allowed them to use imperfect matches.
In October 1984, shortly after his 12th birthday, doctors performed the transplant using Katherine’s bone marrow.
At first, doctors thought the transplant had been a success. Within days, however, his temperature began to rise and he started vomiting blood.
He was still in his bubble and doctors struggled to treat him in such a small space.
In February 1984, David’s condition was still critical, so it was decided to remove him from his bubble for the first time in his life so that they could have unrestricted access to him.
But on February 22, he fell into a coma and doctors allowed David’s family to touch him for the first time. Hours later he was dead.
A post-mortem found that he had died of an incredibly rare cancer, which came from a virus that had been lying dormant in his sister’s bone marrow.
David’s experience proved the link between a virus and cancer. His life was also incredibly valuable to medical science.
Now more than nine out of ten babies born with SCID can be successfully treated.