Transplant policy means girl, 10, may die before lungs are available

June 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM
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NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa., June 3 (UPI) -- A young Pennsylvania girl most likely will die before the federal policy prohibiting her lung transplant can be changed, her family said.

Ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, a victim of cystic fibrosis since birth who has been waiting 18 months for a pair of lungs, is at the top of the list for a transplant. Since she is under age 12, however, she can only get available adult lungs if all others over age 12 in her region turn them down, CNN reported Sunday.

Although U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has requested a review of the lung transplant policy for children, any change could take as long as two years, CNN reported.

Sarah's parents, Fran and Janet Murnaghan, said such a policy review would be a positive step, but also said, "Sarah, and other children like her who need a transplant now do not have the luxury of time to wait for a lengthy bureaucratic change. Essentially, Sarah has been left to die."

The parents asked other parents to think about naming their daughter as a transplant recipient in the event they or one of their children is likely to die in the next few weeks, CNN reported.

"Our little girl, who loves writing music, making crafts and playing with her siblings can honor someone's life by living on herself," they said.

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