The push to be the first is not uncommon in the medical world. Going all the way back to 1967 in South Africa a surgeon, Christiaan Barnard, performed the worlds first heart surgery. He did so without a proper methodology and pushed his patient to the limit (who was already unhealthy; He was a smoker), even after he died. Before Lawrence, the first recipient of a genetically altered pig heart was David Bennet. By the time he got this transplant, we was too sick for a normal transplantation or even an artificial transplantation (just like Lawrence). Is that right?
Nothing is wrong with trying to find alternative solutions to an already faulty triage system yet, these two patients didn't live long after their surgeries. Does that make it cruel? Not necessarily. According to Lawrence and his wife, they knew that they didn't have many options. In fact, even with the risks involved, all he wanted was a little more time with his family. According to one of his physicians, Dr. Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, Lawrence tried to engage in his care and the research involved as much as possible. He was given a whole lot more freedom than what happened to Barnards patient and in the end, this is may very well allow advancements to be made and essentially help millions of people who need it.