A Maryland hospital defends its decision to transplant a pig’s heart into a dying man following reports the patient had a criminal past, saying his eligibility was “based solely on his medical record.”
David Bennett, 57, is still recovering from last week’s highly experimental transplant, a medical first and a step in the quest to one day reduce human organ shortages using animals. While the new heart is working, it’s too early to know how Bennett will fare.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that 34 years ago Bennett was charged with stabbing a paralyzed young man. The state’s Corrections Division told the newspaper Bennett was released from prison in 1994 after serving six years of a 10-year prison sentence.
In a statement released Thursday, the University of Maryland Medical Center said physicians are required to provide the best care for every patient, regardless of their origin.
Bennett’s son David Bennett Jr. issued a separate statement declining to discuss his father’s past and saying he hoped to focus on “my father’s wish to contribute to science and potentially save the lives of patients in the future “.
The elder Bennett was found to be ineligible for a human heart transplant because of his condition – he had heart failure and an irregular heartbeat.