Judge orders girl with cystic fibrosis on adult lung transplant list

June 6, 2013 at 1:51 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, June 6 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Philadelphia ordered a 10-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis placed on the adult lung transplant list temporarily.

The family of Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, Pa., asked U.S. District Senior Judge Michael Baylson for a temporary injunction to prevent enforcement of an Organ Procurement and Transplantation rule that children under 12 must be on the pediatric list for lung transplants, the Delaware County Daily Times reported. Their attorneys argued the rule is discriminatory because adult lungs are more likely to be available.

"Sarah may soon die if she does not receive new lungs and every hour that Sarah can participate in the OPTN's system for allocating lungs without being forced to stand at the back of the line for the much larger pool of lungs donated from adults ... could save her life," attorney Stephen G. Harvey said in his motion.

Baylson scheduled a full hearing June 14. In the meantime, he said, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the rule.

Sarah is currently a patient at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one of the top pediatric facilities in the country. In recent days, her plight has attracted international attention as her parents took their case to Washington.

Fran Murnaghan told CNN his daughter's health has gone downhill this week.

"But we're very excited with the news today, that she will have the opportunity to be equally judged and have the opportunity to receive lungs," he said.

Sebelius ordered a review of the rule, but she said federal officials should not make decisions in individual cases.

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