David Bennett Sr. was involved in a serious assault nearly 35 years ago, court records show. Such histories should not disqualify patients, his doctors said.
An ailing Maryland man who received a pig’s heart last week in a pioneering transplant procedure has a criminal record stemming from an assault 34 years ago in which he repeatedly stabbed a young man, leaving him paralyzed.
The victim, Edward Shumaker, spent two decades in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and suffered numerous medical complications including a stroke that left him cognitively impaired, before he died in 2007 at age 40, according to his sister, Leslie Shumaker Downey, of Frederick, Md.
The Washington Post first reported the transplant patient’s criminal record and the assault that led to it on Thursday. The revelations have prompted debate about how patients are selected for cutting-edge medical care.