Pioneers of life-saving surgeries deserve to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine.
American heart and lung transplant surgeon Bartley P. Griffith is one such potential candidate.
The professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine was named 2020 Top Doctor in his field by the Baltimore Magazine, according to the UMSM website. Griffith directed 1,200 heart transplants and 600 lung transplants so far. His latest feat that could be worthy of a Nobel award was transplanting the heart of a genetically modified (GM) pig to a human patient, the first of its kind, last 7 January.
The patient, 57-year-old David Bennett from Maryland, was dying from heart disease but was not eligible to receive a replacement organ from a human donor. Bennett also was not qualified to get an artificial heart like the Jarvik that Griffith helped implant on a man who suffered heart failure in 2002.
Bennett was left with the option of trying a GM pig’s heart which happened to be Griffith’s experimental treatment and was authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration on New Year’s Eve. Aside from having adequate training on the procedure, Griffith made sure the foreign organ would not be rejected by Bennett’s body by bioengineering the pig heart.
Other than giving someone a new lease on life, the breakthrough surgery’s higher significance is boosting the potential of xenotransplantation or substitution of diseased human organs with animal parts.
There are other good surgeons specializing in organ transplants. British Dr. Simon Bramhall performed liver transplants which is also a very delicate and risky procedure. But authorities suspended Bramhall on 10 January over two bizarre liver operations he did in 2013.
The UK Medical Practice Tribunal Service which hears complaints against doctors and determines their fitness to practice ordered Bramhall’s suspension because he caused emotional harm to the two patients despite pleading guilty to a charge of physical assault in 2017.
The skillful surgeon did not perform life-threatening or lousy transplants that led to his suspension. Another surgeon who re-operated Bramhall’s transplant patients found their livers branded with his initials.
Bramhall pleaded guilty to the offense that he admitted to being foolish, stupid, and wrong before the tribunal.