maryland- The first recipient of a pig heart transplant, David Bennet (57) from the US state of Maryland, is considered a medical sensation.
A week ago, in a seven-hour operation, the craftsman had a pig’s heart implanted, with emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
“I had a choice to die or to have this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” patient Bennett said ahead of Friday’s surgery. “I look forward to getting out of bed after my recovery.”
Now it comes out: Bennett has a human life on his conscience!
According to research by the Washington Post, he was convicted in 1988 after a stabbing in which he seriously injured his opponent, Edward Shumaker. The victim was then confined to a wheelchair, suffered a stroke and later died in 2005.
Shumaker’s sister, Leslie, explained that the second chance at a heart should have gone to someone else. “Ed suffered,” Leslie told the newspaper. Her family had to deal with the destruction and trauma for years.
“Up until the day Ed died, it was pure hell,” she says.
Bennett, then 23, assaulted Shumaker while he was playing billiards in a bar on April 30, 1988. According to the Daily Mail, Bennett’s then-wife sat on Shumaker’s lap. Bennett then hit Shumaker from behind and stabbed him seven times in the stomach, chest and back, according to the Washington Post court testimony.
The jury found Bennet guilty of assault and carrying a concealed weapon, but not murder. Verdict: ten years in prison.
Over 106,000 Americans are on a waiting list for an organ transplant.
IIs it fair for a convicted violent criminal to receive a life-saving organ while other patients are still waiting, the newspaper asks?
“The most important tenet of medicine is to treat every sick person, no matter who they are,” says Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University. “It’s not our job to distinguish sinners from saints. Crime is a legal matter.”
Officials at the University of Maryland Medical Center did not say whether they knew of Bennett’s criminal past. The Baltimore Hospital provides each patient with life-saving treatment “based on their medical needs, not their background or circumstances.”
For David Bennett, a traditional donation was out of the question because his health was too bad: heart failure and an irregular heartbeat.
Three days after the highly experimental procedure, the Maryland hospital announced on Monday: The patient is doing well. On Monday, Bennett was already breathing on his own. But he was still hooked up to a heart-lung machine to support his new heart.
His son declined to discuss his criminal record, but said, “He has a strong will and a desire to live.”