One of the gallstones that killed Marilyn of Arlington, Washington, must have been particularly eager to ingest a piece of pig’s kidney that might just help its owner dodge the organ transplant waiting list.
Medical reports released in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest a pig’s kidney is just the kidney some people are waiting for. For at least one patient, we guess.
The Washington Post’s Joseph Curl reported that in a case study, the pig’s kidney had worked like a charm to ease Marilyn’s pain. By 80 days after the insertion, she was off anti-inflammatory medications and was moving in her full capacity again.
In researching the case, reporters Curl and Meghann Masion discovered that pig’s kidneys aren’t too often transplanted to humans. But Dr. Thor Eric Krenn from the University of California at San Francisco told their editors in the Post article that the success rate was higher than expected. “It is a non-pig kidney, that is a unique, unique circumstance.”
The death of other potential donors is a common complication of heart bypass surgery, but pig’s kidneys are typically not suitable for humans. Which brings us to this discovery: Aside from all the politics that have played a role in the extirpation of pigs from nearly all the States due to their less savory reputation, other bigger questions remain.
Those questions include such heart-wrenching ones as why the Plum Island, New York, prison is so militarized, it once hosted an abandoned pig farm and killed stray dogs that wandered its property, and why it recently doubled the prison’s smoking ban?