The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig has died, two months after the groundbreaking surgery, the Maryland hospital that performed the operation announced on Wednesday.
David Bennett, 57, of Hagerstown Maryland, died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors didn’t give an exact cause of death, saying only that his condition had begun deteriorating several days earlier.
Bennett’s son praised the hospital for offering the operation, saying the family hoped it would help 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 school.
‘We hope this story can be the beginning of hope and not the end,’ he said. ‘We pray that those looking for hope will continue to fight for the future, fight for new ideas, fight for answers, fight for life. Fight like Dave.’
The doctors who worked with Bennett praised the 57-year-old for his bravery.
‘We are devastated by the loss of Mr. Bennett. He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought all the way to the end. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family,’ Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who led Bennett’s transplant said in a statement. ‘Mr. Bennett became known by millions of people around the world for his courage and steadfast will to live.’