An ailing Maryland man who received a pig heart last week in a groundbreaking transplant procedure has a criminal history following an incident 34 years ago in which he repeatedly stabbed a young man, leaving him paralyzed.
The victim, Edward Shumaker, spent two decades in a wheelchair and suffered numerous medical complications before dying in 2007 at the age of 40, according to The Washington Post, which reported the transplant patient’s criminal record for the first time Thursday.
The patient, David Bennett Sr., 57, is being closely monitored at the University of Maryland Medical Center for signs that his body is rejecting a heart received from a genetically modified pig. He was still doing well on Thursday, hospital officials said.
mr. Bennett was charged in 1988 with assault, assault and mutilation with intent to murder, according to court records obtained by DailyExpertNews. He was convicted on lower charges, The Washington Post reported.
In an effort to recover his significant medical expenses, Mr. Shumaker and his family sued Mr. Bennett in civil court and was awarded $3.4 million in damages.
Officials from the University of Maryland Medical Center, where the transplant was performed, said in a statement that health care providers are committed to treating all patients, regardless of background or living conditions.
“It is the solemn obligation of any hospital or healthcare organization to provide life-saving care to every patient that comes to them based on their medical needs,” the officials said.
“Any other standard of care would set a dangerous precedent and violate the ethical and moral values underlying the obligation physicians and healthcare providers have to all patients entrusted to their care.”
Through the medical center, Mr. Bennett Sr.’s son, David Bennett Jr., who was a young boy when the attack took place, declined to comment on his father’s criminal background.
“I don’t want to talk about my father’s past,” he said in a statement from the University of Maryland. “My intention is to focus on the groundbreaking surgery and my father’s desire to contribute to science and potentially save patients’ lives in the future.”
This evolving story will be updated.