Newspapers Criticized for Reporting That Patient With Gene-Hacked Pig Heart Stabbed Someone Decades Ago

News outlets have turned to reporting on the man's troubled past after celebrating a hallmark heart transplant in which a human patient received a genetically modified pig heart.

A headline in the New York Times yesterday said that a patient in a ground-breaking heart transplant has a violent criminal record.

It is a grabby headline. Is it the most responsible way to cover the issue? Why did the headline place sensationalism over the actual conclusions when every doctor the Times interviewed said criminal history shouldn't be used to determine the worthiness of a patient who needs healthcare?

The University of Maryland Medical Center, where the transplant operation was performed, said in a statement that it is the solemn obligation of any hospital or health care organization to provide life-saving care to every patient who comes through their doors. Any other standard of care would set a dangerous precedent and would violate the ethical and moral values that underpin the obligation physicians and caregivers have to all patients in their care.

You are not alone if the incident reminds you of a 2011 episode of "Grey's Anatomy" in which a fictional doctor is operating on a mass shooter. She gives the other nurses a chance to walk away, but she stays to complete the surgery and save his life. Being a doctor who saves lives is more important than saving the patient.

It is not hard to imagine a slippery slope created by doctors being able to pick and choose who they care for if a number of anti-QLGBT and anti-trans healthcare bills are passed this year.

Others could follow in the footsteps of those who gave fake COVID-19 vaccines because they believed in conspiracy theories.

The patient in the transplant received a pig heart, so no human donations were used according to the Times. The plan was to use modified organs in other surgeries to overcome the current shortage of organ donations. If patients wait too long on the organ waiting list, they will die.

We can't allow doctors to choose who gets healthcare and who doesn't, especially if it comes at the expense of life-saving scientific advances.

Doctors transplant a pig heart into a human.

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