Because his older brother had died from complications of the same disease, his parents were prepared for David's birth and arranged for a germ-free delivery on September 21, 1971, at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
Once it was determined that David was also afflicted with SCID, he stayed in plastic isolator bubble environments while waiting for a matching bone marrow donor or a cure for his ailment. The long wait would last twelve years.
David became sick after a bone marrow transfusion was performed a month following his twelfth birthday. He was never physically a prisoner in the bubble; he had merely understood the dangers the outside environment posed to his system. In early 1984, on the advice of doctors, he left his bubble to receive medical treatment. Fifteen days later, on February 22, David died.