David Bennett, a terminally ill man who became the first person to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig, has died two months after the surgery. The exact cause of Bennett's death has not been ascertained yet.
Bennett underwent the surgery on January 7 after he was found to be ineligible for a human transplant and would otherwise have died.
Bennett's Condition Started Deteriorating Few Days Ago
Announcing his death, the University of Maryland Medical System issued a statement saying that Bennett's condition started deteriorating a few days ago.
"His condition began deteriorating several days ago. After it became clear that he would not recover, he was given compassionate palliative care. He was able to communicate with his family during his final hours," the statement said.
Dr Bartley Griffith, the 57-year-old's surgeon, said that they were devastated by the loss of Bennett. "He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought all the way to the end," he said.
Sky News reported that Bennett's son, David Jr, while praising the hospital for the ground- breaking surgery said his family hoped it would contribute to efforts to address a shortage of transplant organs.
Known as xenotransplantation, the procedure was performed by a team of doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Centre.
Tributes Flood Social Media
Several users posted condolence messages on social media. "Sending love to the family of David Bennett Sr, to every patient who didn't make it, but pushed the science further. And love to all of us holding onto hope that heart transplants will one day be so much more accessible and successful than they are now," wrote a user.
"Rest peacefully David Bennett Read article & you'll find @US_FDA allowed this experimental transplant under "Compassionate Use". Why on earth would they allow this but not allow," wrote another user.
"David Bennett should be remembered with gratitude for being the first to undergo an experimental operation that may one day bring hope to millions. It took the sacrifices of many like him to give us our world of routine miracles, and the hope for more," read a tweet.
"I remember 2 months ago he said "It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice" RIP," wrote a user.