Man Given Worlds First Genetically Modified Pig Heart Dies Two Months After Surgery

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

9 Mar 2022

The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig has died, two months after the groundbreaking experiment, the hospital that performed the surgery announced Wednesday.

David Bennett, 57, who had terminal heart disease, survived for two months following the surgery in the US.

No exact cause of death has yet been established, but doctors said his condition had been deteriorating for several days.

Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by US medical regulators to carry out the procedure on Bennett who was ineligible for a human transplant.

Bennett’s son commended the hospital for offering the last-ditch experiment, hoping it would lead to further efforts to end the organ shortage.

“We are grateful for every innovative moment, every crazy dream, every sleepless night that went into this historic effort,” David Bennett Jr said in a statement released by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We hope this story can be the beginning of hope and not the end.”

Bennett’s animal-human transplant remains the most successful to date wih prior attempts failing due to patients’ bodies rapidly rejected the animal organ.

“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.