To be the first person to receive a revolutionary pig heart transplant: a blessing or an experiment? Earlier this week on 11 January, a 57-year-old man from the United States has became the first successful recipient of a genetically-modified pig heart. Now, it has been revealed that David Bennett, 57, was convicted of the 1988 stabbing of Edward Shumaker.
The victims’ sister Leslie Shumaker Downey made the revelation on a radio show overseas.
Downey said that her brother died in 2007 after almost two decades of medical complications linked to the attack. He suffered a stroke in 2005 and died two years later.
The attack allegedly happened due to a fit of rage after Bennett’s wife sat on Shumaker’s lap in April 1988. Shumaker was 22-years-old when he was stabbed repeatedly in the back. He was left paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.
Bennett was found guilty of battery and carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
As Bennett recovers from the successful transplant in hospital, Downey has said that she does not believe that he deserves the heart.
Downey told the BBC that the everybody is portraying him as a hero when “he’s nothing of that sort.” She added that it is the doctors who performed the surgery who should be getting all the attention.
Bennett’s doctors said that past crimes do not disqualify patients from getting such procedures.
“It is the solemn obligation of any hospital or health care organisation to provide lifesaving care to every patient who comes through their doors based on their medical needs,” officials at the University of Maryland Medical Centre told The New York Times.
Picture: University of Maryland School of Medicine via BBC