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Ethics of taking a pig's heart for transplant

  • 11-01-2022 3:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,078 ✭✭✭ Finty Lemon

    "A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig.

    David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

    The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett's life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.

    "It was either die or do this transplant," Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery.

    "I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice," he said.

    Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett - who has terminal heart disease - would otherwise have died" BBC News

    Very interesting from a science perspective, but what are people's opinion on the ethics of this? Does it go too far in contravention of certain religious views or other life principles?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,503 ✭✭✭ mikethecop

    Hardly an issue really is it ? ethically at least

    I mean Im not too bothered about how the steak i had for dinner felt about it , nor will i be thinking about the potatoes that were sacrificed for the chips to go with it

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  • Registered Users Posts: 33,167 ✭✭✭✭ Gatling

    So we save lives with pigs hearts because people are too selfish to donate theirs,

    God bless science and surgeons willing to push the envelope to save lives

    Langley , Virginia

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    A good chunk of the world don’t eat pork because it’s ‘unclean’ but can do if it’s a matter of starvation. Presumably this means they would also be happy with donor organs if it’s a matter of life and death.

  • Posts: 18,752 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    What religious views does it contravene? I'm not religious so doesn't bother me.

    No issue with using a pig heart. Not sure what genetically modified pig is exactly

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,504 ✭✭✭ tabby aspreme

    4 legs good, 2 legs better

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,888 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly

    They already use pig tissue in heart surgery.

    I've a mechanical valve.

    It's not an issue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,144 ✭✭✭✭ osarusan

    No issue with it if it works.

    If it keeps people alive who otherwise wouldn't be (even if only until a suitable human heart becomes available) then great.

    Hopefully it extends beyond just hearts and into other organs (even from other animals, although that's unlikely).

    Imagine the lives that could be saved.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 2,955 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Raichu

    If the religion you’re referring to is Jewish they’re not allowed eat pigs.. but no one says they can’t use the organs?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,863 ✭✭✭ SuperBowserWorld

    Pigs - as intelligent as dogs and have an absolutely terrible, brutal life in industrialised farming.

    Oh, and they also provided insulin for humans who could no longer produce it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,733 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road

    realistically that is not workable or viable as

    1. free speech means people with religious views can express those views if and where they want.
    2. one of the most important things of a religion as far as i understand is spreading the teachings and all else of that religion.
    3. if you want people who you disagree with to keep their views, religious or otherwise to themselves then ultimately it stands to reason that we should have to keep our views to ourselves on anything and never express them, which ultimately means no more boards for example.
    4. simply telling someone who disagrees with something not to partake in that something doesn't ultimately work since they disagree with it and believe that they should express their disagreement or even campaign to get the thing they disagree with stopped.
    5. this transplant is certainly more proof of the wonderful things that can be done now days, medical treatments are advancing all of the time.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Remember the first lad to get a human heart transplant in South Africa in the 60s survived less than 2 weeks. In this case, i expect lots of surgical technique learning to do to, but the real challenge to longterm success will be preventing organ rejection as the heart is a completely different species. I wonder has there been some genetic manipulation done to the donor pig?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,468 ✭✭✭ Quantum Erasure

    I was more concerned with the 'genetically modified' bit, thought they might be splicing in human DNA somehow... I think they only turn off certain genes which would trigger the immune system of the recipient to reject the transplant,

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,531 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack

    By “ethics… and other life principles”, is this what you mean?

    I don’t think vegans and animal rights groups will be too enamoured by the idea, not sure I’m exactly taken with the idea myself tbh, from the perspective of human recipients I mean though, as opposed to any ethical concerns about animal donors - I eat meat and make use of various animal products already, wouldn’t want them inside me on a more permanent basis though than the length of time it takes to pass through my digestive system.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭ $hifty

    They are free to express themselves alright, but nobody is obliged to listen to it or even acknowledge it. And I'm equally as free to tell them to shut it.

    It is the very fact that they are "spreading the teachings and all else of that religion" which gets people's backs up. Nobody wants to hear that crap coming from such a downright disgusting and evil organisation as the RCC in Ireland.

    Imagine pontificating about the rights and wrongs of the human body when you were an integral part of the mass murder of children and their bodies. Demonising women for "straying from the path" as you sell their kids to wealthy Americans and pocketing the cash. Complicit in covering up the rampant sexual abuse of society's most vulnerable souls, to the point where you moved them along to a fresh batch of kids in the next parish over in order to save your own embarrassment.

    This week alone, the Pope was chastising everyone, not just Catholics, mind, but everyone for not having kids. Why isn't he doing his part? Why doesn't he have kids? Why doesn't he issue a papal decree to allow priests to have kids?

    The church, in fact all organised religions, are free to express whatever they want. And we are free to tell them to go fook themselves with a ball of rusty barbed wire, cos I'll be damned (literally) if I'll be lectured on the moral rights and wrongs of such a bunch of scumbags.

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  • Posts: 0 Alena Slow Junkie

    I love animals. I despise factory farming and hope ourselves push the EU for higher standards (which we're in the best place to hit compared to most places) on animal welfare and food standards.

    That said, if one of my parents or siblings needed something out of a pig you could give me a knife and I'll kill pigs til I pass out from exhaustion if that's what it took to get it.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    How did the Catholic Church even get into this? The op merely mentioned religion as an aside, theres no indication that Catholicism is especially or even opposed to this.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 2,955 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Raichu

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭ $hifty

    It wasn't mentioned as an aside at all. The OP asked two questions, one of which was 100% about certain religious views. For too long we've been kowtowing to those certain religious views and anyone who is against saving lives through medical science such as this can swivel on it, AFAIC

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,167 ✭✭✭✭ Gatling

    Most wives call their husbands pigs at some stage ,I'd imagine the reply coming well dear I'm part pig afterall ,

    Other options are quite slim ,make organ donation mandatory if organs can be harvested ,that way organs become available on a daily basis that could save lives ,or do a china and take organs from prisoners ,and sell them to the highest bidder,

    Or genetically modified pigs and others animals if possible being used to fill the massive supply shortages

    Langley , Virginia

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,175 ✭✭✭ Fandymo

    If your heart gives up you should just die. Your time is up. Keeping people alive is extremely expensive in the long run. Use your time wisely and when it’s up it’s up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,239 ✭✭✭ boardise

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,243 ✭✭✭ AmberGold

    No problem with any of it. This is great progress however if I don’t know how I’d feel about the sausage sandwiches after the op. Next on the list will be pig lungs transplants into humans. Religion has no part to play in the real world!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,733 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road

    realistically all of that is irrelevant to my point.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.