Patient who received a pig’s heart transplant has a criminal record.
Jessica Schladebeck of the New York Daily News (TNS) contributed to this article.
Although family members of the man he repeatedly stabbed in the 1980s struggled to fully appreciate the medical marvel, David Bennett Sr. was honored around the world this week as the first-ever pig heart transplant recipient.
Bennett, who was diagnosed with end-stage heart disease and was ineligible for a human transplant, decided to take a chance and undergo the experimental procedure.
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore replaced his heart with that of a 1-year-old, 240-pound pig on July 7.
Bennett has not rejected the organ and is breathing on his own without the use of a ventilator, though he is still on an ECMO machine.
According to the Washington Post, Leslie Shumaker Downey was babysitting her grandchildren at home on Monday when her daughter texted her a link to an article cautiously announcing the procedure’s early success.
She was initially awestruck by the number of lives it could save, but then she saw the name of the man being hailed as a medical pioneer.
He’d been convicted of stabbing her brother, Edward Shumaker, in 1988, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Shumaker was in a wheelchair for two decades and had a series of medical issues, including a stroke that left him cognitively impaired.
He died in 2007 at the age of 40.
“Ed was harmed,” Downey told the Washington Post.
“The devastation and trauma that my family had to endure for years and years.”
Bennett “went on and lived a good life,” she added, something she believes her brother was robbed of.
“Now he gets a second chance with a new heart,” Downey continued, “but I wish it had gone to a deserving recipient.”
Bennett, then 23, assaulted Shumaker on April 30, 1988, while playing pool at the Double T Lounge in Hagerstown, after his wife, Norma Jean Bennett, sat on Shumaker’s lap.
The two gentlemen had attended the same high school.
Bennett stabbed Shumaker seven times in the abdomen, chest, and back, according to court testimony…
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