The BBC reports that 16-month old Amy Davies, who lives in Great Britain, received a heart valve transplant from a piglet when she was just seven month olds. The infant had a large hole in her heart as well as severe blockage of one of her heart valves. Surgeons said she was too small for an artificial valve and they doubted she could cope with the immunosuppressive drugs that are needed to prevent the body from rejecting artificial valves.
Many animal rights activists argue in favor of a ban on such xenotransplants arguing that the animal, in this case the piglet, have rights that supercede the human infants, and/or that the risk of diseases crossing from swine to human is simply to great to offset the medical benefits of such transplants.
Baby given piglet’s heart valve. The BBC, December 4, 2000.
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