The doctor told Petey's mother that Petey was an 'idiot' and he couldn't be rehabilitated; he advised admitting Petey to an institution
By the time Petey is 2, his parents have exhausted all of their resources and decide to place Petey in an institution. On Petey's journey, a woman on the train sees him and promptly leaves her seat in order to distance herself from him.
Petey makes some of his first expressions but they are dismissed by the staff until Esteban comes along. Esteban recognizes some intelligence in Petey and begins giving Petey chocolate for certain behaviors. This was dismissed by other staff members as merely 'conditioning'
At the age of 8, It has finally been decided that Petey has outgrown his crib and he is moved to the men's ward. For about a year he is the only child in the ward, until Calvin arrives and they become friends. Calvin and Petey learn to communicate with each other.
When Petey screams to rescue his friend, Joe realizes that Petey is much smarter than anyone will give him credit for.
The same year, Petey developed pneumonia. The doctor told Joe that "these kind seldom live long anyhow."
Owen also recognizes Petey's abilities and wants more activities for Petey and Calvin, but when he brings this up to the director, the director disagrees.
Patients begin living Warm Springs, including Calvin; Petey isn't even given the chance to say goodbye.
One day Petey is just informed- not asked, but informed- that he is being transferred to another facility.
By this time, Petey has finally been correctly identified as having cerebral palsy and is no longer referred to as an idiot by medical staff. However, that doesn't stop the neighborhood kids from bullying Petey. Trevor intervenes and eventually forms a bond with Petey.
Petey is rushed to the hospital with pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer. The Doctor, taking in his age, deformities, and lack of family, almost decided not to operate. It was only the appearance of Petey's friends that convinced him otherwise.