Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, May 13, 2024

First person to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant dies nearly 2 months later

Screenshot 2024-05-12 at 9.24.20 PMRichard "Rick" Slayman, the first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, has passed away nearly two months after undergoing the groundbreaking procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital in March. Surgeons had initially anticipated that the pig kidney would function for at least two years. Slayman, aged 62, received the transplant after experiencing complications from a previous kidney transplant in 2018.

Although Slayman's family and the hospital expressed deep sadness at his passing, they clarified that there was no indication that his death was directly related to the transplant. The procedure marked a significant milestone in xenotransplantation, offering hope for those awaiting organ transplants. Previously, pig kidneys had been temporarily transplanted into brain-dead donors, with limited success.

Slayman's family expressed gratitude towards his doctors for their efforts in facilitating the xenotransplant, extending their appreciation for the additional time it afforded them with Rick. They highlighted his decision to undergo the surgery as a beacon of hope for thousands awaiting transplants, emphasizing his enduring legacy of optimism. Xenotransplantation, involving the use of animal organs to heal humans, represents a promising avenue in addressing the critical shortage of organs for transplantation, with over 100,000 people currently on the national waiting list.

For more information see Associated Press “First person to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant dies nearly 2 months later”, Yahoo Entertainment, May 11, 2024. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.


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