Two months after receiving a pioneering heart transplant from a genetically engineered pig, a man died Tuesday.
David Bennett died without being identified immediately. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center did not say if it was related to complications from the transplant.
The hospital released a statement Wednesday saying Bennett, 57, had "began to deteriorate several days ago."
The hospital stated that after it became apparent that he wouldn't recover, he was offered compassionate palliative treatment. "He was able communicate with his family in his final hours."
Bennett's son, David Bennett Jr. thanked his father's physicians in a statement that he released through hospital.
He said, "Their tireless efforts and energy, combined with my dad’s insatiable desire to live, created an optimistic environment during an uphill climb."
My father wanted to fight to save his life, so he could spend more time with his family, which included his two sisters and his two children and his five grandchildren. We were able spend precious weeks together as he was recovering from his transplant surgery. These are weeks that we wouldn't have been able to enjoy without this amazing effort.
Bennett's donation was a landmark in the field xenotransplantation. This is the sourcing of organs from animals to solve the human organ shortage.
doctors at the University of Alabama in Birmingham have since implanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into a brain-dead person.
"Mr. Dr. Bartley P. Griffith released a statement Wednesday stating that Bennett was known for his courage and unwavering will to live. He said that this operation, like any other first-in the-world transplant surgery, provided valuable insights that could help transplant surgeons improve their outcomes and possibly provide lifesaving benefits for future patients.
Bennett was granted an emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on New Year's Eve to receive the genetically modified pig hearts. Jan. 7 was the completion of the surgery.
Bennett was hospitalized for six months with a life-threatening arrhythmia. He had also been connected to a heart bypass machine.