Man Who Received Pig Heart Transplant Stabbed And Paralysed A Man 34 Years Ago In Brutal Violent Attack

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Man Who Received Pig Heart Transplant Stabbed And Paralysed A Man 34 Years Ago In Brutal Violent Attack

Photo: David Bennett Sr., who received a heart implant from a genetically modified pig, with his University of Maryland Medical Center surgeon Bartley Griffith. (University of Maryland School of Medicine/AFP)


It has been revealed that the man who made medical history by receiving a pig heart as a transplant was convicted of stabbing a man 7 times in 1988.


In the incident, the heart recipient David Bennett Sr. walked into a bar and stabbed 22-year-old Edward Shumaker who was talking to Bennett's then wife. He stabbed him in the chest, abdomen and back and then fled the scene, leading police on a high-speed chase. A jury later found Bennett not guilty on the charge of attempted murder but convicted him on assault charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, of which he served six, and ordered to pay the injured party $29,824 in restitution. The victim's family say they received no money.


The wounded man was left with terrible injuries and was paralysed for life, meaning that he had to use a wheelchair until he died of a stroke aged just 41. The judge presiding over the case described it as one of 'extreme violence'.


The news of the recipient's background came after he was featured on national and international news and was spotted by family members of his victim.


His daughter Leslie Shumaker Downey told reporters on hearing the news:


"Ed suffered. The devastation and the trauma, for years and years, that my family had to deal with. He went on and lived a good life. Now he gets a second chance with a new heart — but I wish, in my opinion, it had gone to a deserving recipient."


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Medical ethicists were quick to state that a patient must be treated as a patient and can't be judged on their past behaviours when medical decisions are made.


Arthur Caplan, a bioethics professor at New York University, said:


"The key principle in medicine is to treat anyone who is sick, regardless of who they are. We are not in the business of sorting sinners from saints. Crime is a legal matter."


While Scott Halpern, a medical ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, added:


"We have a legal system designed to determine just redress for crimes. And we have a health-care system that aims to provide care without regard to people's personal character or history."


Bennet and his family have refused to comment on his criminal background. His son told reporters when asked:


"My dad has never, ever, in his entire life talked to me about that. I will not say anything about it."


The pig-heart transplant is a medical first and is seen by many as providing hope for the 100,000 people in the US alone awaiting organ transplants.


[Based on reporting by: Washington Post]


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Thinking Humanity: Man Who Received Pig Heart Transplant Stabbed And Paralysed A Man 34 Years Ago In Brutal Violent Attack
Man Who Received Pig Heart Transplant Stabbed And Paralysed A Man 34 Years Ago In Brutal Violent Attack
It has been revealed that the man who made medical history by receiving a pig heart as a transplant was convicted of stabbing a man 7 times in 1988.
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