WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- Kathleen Sebelius came under attack Tuesday from U.S. House Republicans who want her to get a lung transplant for a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl.
"It simply takes your signature," Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., told Sebelius, the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who appeared before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Sebelius responded that she has examined the history of the transplant policy "very carefully" and deferred to a panel of surgeons and healthcare providers, ABC News reported.
"Unfortunately, there are about 40 seriously ill Pennsylvanians over the age of 12 also waiting for a lung transplant," along with other children at the hospital where Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, Pa., is being treated, Sebelius said.
The girl may die of cystic fibrosis without a lung transplant soon. The transplant policy calls for adults to be given preference over children under 12.
Sebelius said she has talked to Murnaghan's mother, who has asked for a waiver in her daughter's case. The secretary has ordered a review of the policy, but Price said that would take "a year" to complete.
"This young lady will be dead," Price said.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., also implored Sebelius to intervene.
"I'm begging you. Sarah has three to five weeks to live," Barletta said. "Time is running out. Please suspend the rules until we look at this policy, which we all believe is flawed."
Sebelius said Murnaghan's request is an "incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies."