The 57-year-old man that underwent experimental surgery to save his life and make history in the process by becoming the first person to successfully receive a genetically modified pig’s heart has died.
David Bennett had received the life-saving transplant on January 7 and survived two months after the historic surgery. However, his condition started to deteriorate a few days ago the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), where he had been receiving his care, said in a statement on Wednesday. He was given “compassionate palliative care” after it became evident that he would not recover, as per Reuters.
The US native had been suffering from terminal heart disease and the surgery was his last resort as he was considered ineligible for a conventional heart transplant. Going into the surgery, Bennett understood the risks and acknowledged that it was “a shot in the dark.”
A special dispensation was granted by the US medical regulator to carry out the surgery due to the fact that Bennett would otherwise have died without it, reports BBC.
According to the hospital, he had been doing well, spending much of his days talking to his family and watching the Superbowl. Doctors are said to be devasted.
“He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought all the way to the end,” surgeon Bartley Griffith, who performed the transplant, said in a statement released by the hospital.
But Mr Bennett’s son, David Jr, said he hoped his father’s transplant would “be the beginning of hope and not the end.”
“We are grateful for every innovative moment, every crazy dream, every sleepless night that went into this historic effort,” he added.
Picture: University of Maryland School of Medicine via BBC