A week after a man was diagnosed with heart disease, doctors announced another medical breakthrough: they transplanted pig kidneys into the body of a person.
James Parsons, 57, was the patient. He was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash last September.
Parsons was rehabilitated by doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who transplanted genetically modified kidneys taken from a pig.
“They told us that there was this new groundbreaking surgery,” Parsons’ daughter Ally said.
“I don’t think we were freaked out at all. We just knew that our dad would definitely want to be part of something like that and he would definitely be honored,”She said.
Parsons had been declared brain dead long before the operation. There was no expectation that he would ever be released from the hospital.
However, the revolutionary pig’s kidney operation could offer hope for up to 90,000 Americans who are on waiting lists for a kidney transplant.
“It really begins to open the door of a potential unlimited supply for kidneys that can affect the lives of Americans and citizens across the world,” Dr. Selwyn Vickers said.
Technically, the surgery was successful. The pig kidneys continued to function. Three days later, doctors removed James Parsons from life support.
“He would love to know that he’s still helping people after his death,” Parsons’ son said.