By Ismail Auwal

David Bennett, the first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig, has died two months after the groundbreaking transplant.

Surgeons at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) performed the transplant on Bennett on the 57-year-old in January.

The Hospital in a statement on Wednesday said his condition began deteriorating several days ago, adding that Bennett was given “compassionate palliative care” after it became clear that he would not recover.

“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,” Dr Bartley Griffith, who performed the surgery at the Baltimore hospital.”

Bennett’s cause of death was not disclosed by the hospital.

Prior to the transplant in January, the deceased was hospitalized and bedridden for several months, and he was hooked up to a heart-lung bypass machine to stay alive.

According to reports, the organ transplant was the only option for the patient, who was said to be suffering from life-threatening arrhythmia.

He was reportedly ruled ineligible for a conventional heart transplant by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and other top transplant centers after a review of his medical records.

“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. I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover.” Bennett said before the surgery.

The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorisation for the surgery on December 31, 2021, through its expanded access (compassionate use) provision in the hope of saving the patient’s life.

Commenting on the surgery, Bartley Griffith, director of the cardiac transplant programme at the medical centre, who performed the operation, said the “breakthrough surgery brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis.”

“There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients,” he was quoted as saying.

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