Girl who took on transplant rules gets new lungs

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2013 at 11:55 am •  Published: June 13, 2013
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"We are elated this day has come, but we also know our good news is another family's tragedy. That family made the decision to give Sarah the gift of life — and they are the true heroes today."

On Wednesday, in a posting on her Facebook page, Janet Murnaghan said she and the family were "overwhelmed with emotions" and thanked all her supporters. She said the donor's family "has experienced a tremendous loss, may God grant them a peace that surpasses understanding."

Ruddock said Sarah doesn't yet know the full extent of the impact her case has had.

"She really wanted to Google herself the other day and we were like, no."

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network — the national organization that manages organ transplants — added Sarah to the adult waiting list after Baylson's ruling. Her transplant came just two days before a hearing was scheduled on the family's request for a broader injunction.

The network has said 31 children under age 11 are on the waiting list for a lung transplant. Its executive committee held an emergency meeting this week but resisted making emergency rule changes for children under 12 who are waiting for lungs, instead creating a special appeal and review system to hear such cases.

Murnaghan's family "did have a legitimate complaint" about the rule that limited her access to adult lungs, said medical ethicist Arthur Caplan of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

"When the transplant community met, they didn't want to change that rule without really thinking carefully about it," he said. The appeals process that was established this week was "built on evidence, not on influence."

He added: "In general, the road to a transplant is still to let the system decide who will do best with scarce, lifesaving organs. And it's important that people understand that money, visibility, being photogenic ... are factors that have to be kept to a minimum if we're going to get the best use out of the scarce supply of donated cadaver organs."

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Ritter, an AP science writer, reported from New York. Associated Press Writer Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia also contributed to this report.

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