A man diagnosed with terminal heart disease who became the first person to receive a genetically modified pig heart transplant has been reported dead just two months after the risky surgical procedure on Tuesday, March. 8.

David Bennett Sr., the 57-year-old patient and recipient of a genetically modified pig heart transplant from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore on Jan. 7, lived just 2 months after the operation and died on Tuesday, March. 8. Bennett was the first patient ever to receive an animal organ genetically modified to prevent rejection in a person, USA Today reported.

Even though the medical center did not give an exact cause for Bennett's death, they said that his condition began deteriorating several days before his death. Bennett was given compassionate palliative care when it became clear that he would not recover and was able to communicate with his family and friends during his final hours.

"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 P. Griffith, who performed the transplant, said.

Bennett needed mechanical support to stay alive before receiving the genetically modified pig heart. However, he was rejected for a standard heart transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center and several other centers.

After the transplant, the transplanted pig heart performed well in Bennett's body for several weeks without any signs of rejection and Bennett was able to spend a great amount of time with his family. He was also able to do physical therapy to help regain strength, WebMD reported.

Bennett’s son, David Bennett Jr, has thanked the facility's medical staff and said that the family is "profoundly grateful for the life-extending opportunity" given to his father by the "stellar team" at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

"We were able to spend some precious weeks together while he recovered from the transplant surgery, weeks we would not have had without this miraculous effort," Bennett Jr. said.

"We also hope that what was learned from his surgery will benefit future patients and hopefully one day, end the organ shortage that costs so many lives each year," he added.

The transplant on Bennett's body raised ethical concerns among animal rights activists. Meanwhile, some others objected to performing the transplant on Bennett since he had served time in prison for attacking a man with a knife.

This is a representational image. Pixabay

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.