Pennsylvania girl eligible for adult organ donation after ruling

By Reuters
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 19:15 EDT
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Family of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan petitions for her to get emergency lung transplant. Image via ABC News.
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A 10-year old girl with cystic fibrosis who had been kept off an adult organ transplant list due to an age-restriction rule will now be eligible for an adult lung transplant, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled on Wednesday.

The family of Sarah Murnaghan, a patient at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s intensive care unit, sued to prevent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing a policy that prevents children under 12 from getting adult lung transplants regardless of how ill they are.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson granted the family a 10-day temporary restraining order.

Murnaghan is not guaranteed an immediate transplant, although her mother told CNN she believes her daughter now has a 75 percent chance of getting a lung transplant in the next two weeks.

“We now have hope. We have a lot of hope,” she told CNN.

A spokeswoman at the Department of Health and Human Services could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania applauded the judge’s ruling, saying medical need, rather than age, should be the primary criteria in determining how organ donations are prioritized.

“Now Sarah has a chance for a lung transplant, and I plan to keep fighting for her and others who deserve to be eligible,” the senator said in a statement.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Andrew Hay)

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