Everyone deserves to benefit from medical innovations. Yes, even people who have done bad things.

Washington Post And New York times I want you to know, for some reason, that the man who recently received a pig’s heart in a pioneering transplant is not an angel.

David Bennett, 57, suffers from terminal heart disease and last week received a genetically modified pig’s heart in a transplant. It was the first innovative surgery of its kind that has the potential to save many lives in the future. Doctors said Bennett was ineligible for a human heart transplant due to problems with heart failure and arrhythmia. It could be said that this type of surgery was his only option.

In 1988, Bennett was convicted of stabbing a man seven times, which left him paralyzed. The victim, Edward Shoemaker, spent the next two decades in a wheelchair, suffered a stroke in 2005, and died two years later before he turned 41.

None of this has anything to do with Bennett’s treatment. However, two of the most prominent newspapers in the United States decided to report on a crime that Bennett committed when he was 22 years old. the Mail I reported it first, apparently based on members of the Shoemaker family who contacted them and complained about the transplant. Shoemaker’s sister, Leslie Shoemaker Downey, is not happy that Bennett received this life-saving treatment.

“[Bennett] She went on and lived a good life.” Mail. “Now he has a second chance with a new heart–but I hope, in my mind, you’ve gone to a deserving recipient.”

It’s totally normal for Downey to feel as though this is totally unfair, given her deep personal connection to Bennett’s crime. We shouldn’t be judging Downey here. But how do you feel it should have no effect on Bennett’s medical treatment, and it’s irresponsible for this mainstream media to suggest there’s some kind of controversy.

the MailEvoking Downey’s feelings as a news hook, he makes a totally bizarre (and frankly press-charged) pivot to the story to show that more than 100,000 Americans are waiting for transplants and 17 people dying every day are waiting. the Mail “Faced with this shortage, it may seem inconceivable to some families that those convicted of violent crimes be given life-saving measures that so many desperately need,” he adds.

But Bennett wasn’t on that waiting list in the first place because he wasn’t eligible. He did not snatch a human heart from a more “deserving” person, whatever that might mean morally or ethically. He got a pig’s heart in a groundbreaking and dangerous surgery that could have killed him – and to be clear, may still. No one in this waiting list is disqualified Any thing Because of Bennett’s surgery. (New York times He notes this important fact five paragraphs from the bottom of his story.)

the Mail axes again (as does a file times) to clinicians and bioethicists who all say, largely with one voice, what should not be controversial: We do not divide medical treatment on the basis of the ethical position of the recipient.

Arthur Kaplan, professor of bioethics at New York University, tells Mail. “We are not in the business of separating sinners from saints. Crime is a legal question.”

Confusingly, the Mail Interviewer again to point out that local hospitals have the discretion to decide who to add to waiting lists based on things like history of drug use and whether a prisoner is at risk of infection after surgery. But these are entirely medical decisions and have nothing to do with the moral judgment of whether a patient is “worthy” of treatment. the Mail It seems to suggest that since hospitals have some leeway, there’s some sort of possibility that they can or Must Patients are rated on the basis of moral value.

the Mail He even went so far as to ask the University of Maryland Medical Center if he knew about Bennett’s criminal background. Officials refused to answer.

Can you imagine what would happen if forensic examinations were required for major surgeries? Consider the potential consequences if prioritizing major surgeries is based on compliance with the law rather than purely medical factors.

strange no Washington Post no New York times It even discusses the potential ethical ramifications of this, although times It allows a medical ethics research scientist to ask vaguely, “Where would you draw the line if you chose and chose?”

Bennett’s surgery did not come at the cost of depriving anyone else of life-saving treatment. If he survives, it is likely that the procedure help All of these people are stuck in the transplant waiting list and sometimes die because they can’t find a human heart. This ground-breaking surgery may save other lives because Bennett was willing to risk death.

It’s good that the University of Maryland Medical Center didn’t care about Bennett’s criminal background when he performed this potentially game-changing surgery. It was the right moral choice. only lo Washington Post And New York times Take the time to think more about the ethics of what that they They were doing.

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