Dying Girl, 10, Refused Lung Transplant By Bureaucracy

Mon, June 3, 2013 5:31pm EDT by 8 Comments
Courtesy of CNN

A suffering 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis could die within the next few weeks without a lung transplant. The real tragedy for Sarah Murnaghan is that it’s not the lack of organs available that is holding her back from getting the immediate procedure she needs — it’s the law.

Sarah Murnaghan may not live much longer unless she gets a new set of lungs. She’s at the top of the list for any pediatric lungs that might become available in her area, but for the time being only adult lungs are available. While doctors think modified adult lungs would work for Sarah, she doesn’t have access to the available organs unless every adult waiting for lungs in the area turns them down, creating an unimaginable barrier that could result in a tragic death.

Sarah Murnaghan’s Parents Beg For A Change In Legislation

The law that is preventing Sarah from getting the procedure she needs as soon as possible has been in place since 2005. The law states surgery for patients over the age of 12 can be allocated based on severity of illness versus the amount of time on the waiting list, but in Sarah’s case, she is too young for that to matter.

Due to the extreme burden this law is putting on a poor little girl with a condition as serious as Sarah’s, her parents, Fran and Janet Murnaghan, have been formally contacting U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. They are begging Kathleen to make a change so not only Sarah can be helped, but so other children don’t have to go through the suffering Sarah has at just 10 years old.

“We don’t want preferential treatment for Sarah, we want equal treatment,” Janet told the Huffington Post. “We want it to be a triage system like they do for everyone else where the sickest patient goes first and ones with ability to wait, wait.”

Unfortunately, Kathleen said she isn’t in authority to intervene with the policy, but is ordering a transplant policy review.

Parents’ Fight Might Not Be Enough for Sarah Murnaghan

Sarah has been waiting for a transplant for a year and a half, and any change that may come from her parents’ fight could take up to two years. With only a projected few weeks left to live after already being in the local Children’s Hospital for the past three months, change might not even matter for Sarah.

But it would certainly help.

WATCH: Sarah Murnahan’s Parents Hope For Change Soon

CNN, The Huffington Post

— Taylor Weatherby

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