Pa. girl who took on donor rules gets adult lungs

Sarah Murnaghan, Ella Murnaghan
FILE - In this May 30, 2013 photo provided by the Murnaghan family, Sarah Murnaghan, left, lies in her hospital bed next to adopted sister Ella on the 100th day of her stay in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The 10-year-old suburban Philadelphia girl has been hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for three months with end-stage cystic fibrosis. Her family wants an exception made for Sarah to get an adult lung, because so few pediatric lungs become available. Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, says she doesn't want to intervene in transplant decisions when other children are just as sick. Sarah's relatives say they want the policy changed for all children awaiting a lung transplant, not just Sarah. (AP Photo/Murnaghan family)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A family spokeswoman says the lungs implanted in a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl at the center of a debate on organ donation are from an adult.

Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from severe cystic fibrosis, is receiving her new lungs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

No other details about the donor are known, including whether they came through the regular donor system or through public appeals.

Murnaghan’s health was deteriorating when a judge intervened last week, giving her a chance at the much larger list of organs from adult donors.

Spokeswoman Maureen Garrity says the family received word about the lungs Tuesday night. The Newtown Square girl was in surgery just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. As of 5:15 p.m. Wednesday KOIN 6 News learned her surgery is considered to be a success.

During double-lung transplants, surgeons must open up the patient’s chest. Complications can include rejection of the new lungs and infection.

Sarah’s family and the family of another cystic fibrosis patient at the hospital challenged transplant policy that made children under 12 wait for pediatric lungs to become available. They said pediatric lungs are rarely donated.

Garrity says the family is “beyond excited” but mindful that someone else “had to lose a family member.”

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