Richard Slayman, Kidney Transplant, Pig, Massachusetts General Hospital,

First Pig Kidney Transplant Recipient Dies Weeks After Surgery

Slayman died around seven weeks after his procedure; his hospital said there's no indication his death is related to the surgery.

Richard Slayman, the first-ever recipient of a pig kidney transplant, has died nearly two months after his surgery

ABC News reports surgeons at the Massachusetts General Hospital successfully performed the four-hour operation on the 62-year-old in March. Slayman was released by the hospital April 2.

“Our family is deeply saddened about the sudden passing of our beloved Rick but take great comfort knowing he inspired so many,” Slayman’s family said in a statement. “Millions of people worldwide have come to know Rick’s story. We felt—and still feel—comforted by the optimism he provided patients desperately waiting for a transplant.

“[The doctors’] enormous efforts leading the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories made during that time will remain in our minds and hearts,” the family added. “Rick accomplished that goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever. His legacy will be one that inspires patients, researchers, and health care professionals everywhere.”

However, despite his death occurring shortly after the procedure, the hospital said there is “no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant,” adding that Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide and we are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation.”

Slayman, who suffered from Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, received a human kidney transplant in 2018. However, it began to fail five years later.

Returning to dialysis strained Slayman’s life, leading to the xenotransplant with a pig kidney provided by eGenesis. The genetically-edited pig had human genes added with animal genes dangerous to humans removed.

Despite the short-lived outcome, Slayman’s procedure continues remains a medical advancement for others to potentially use as a treatment option.

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