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Young Organ Transplant Patient Wakes Up From Coma After Policy Altering Surgery

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Young Lung Transplant Patient Awakens From Coma

The 10-year-old girl whose parents waged an aggressive battle against the so-called "under 12" rule has awoken from her coma. Sarah Murnaghan suffers from cystic fibrosis and needed a double lung transplant to survive, but the "under 12" rule prevented her from receiving adult lungs until a judge ruled in her favor. The under 12 rule requires that adult lungs donations be given to children over the age of 12 before being considered for younger children. However, Sarah's parents were able to win their case and the little girl underwent the transplant surgery on June 12.

Child Lung Transplants Rare, Parents Argue Age Discrimination

Unfortunately, child organ donations are rare and children under the age of 12 rarely receive adult organs. However, Sarah's parents argued in federal court in Philadelphia that the policy constitutes age discrimination and a judge issued a 10-day restraining order to place Sarah on the adult organ waiting list due to the medical urgency of her situation. Sarah has been in and out of the hospital most of her life because of her cystic fibrosis, but her condition recently worsened, which led to the much needed double lung transplant.

Parents' Battle Opens Up Policy Debate

Sarah cannot speak because she is still reliant on a ventilator for the time being. However, she is able to nod her head to respond to questions. Her road to recovery will be long and she is only able to stay awake for brief periods at a time. Her parents also say that they keep reminding her that she has a set of new lungs and will have to adjust gradually. Her parents' battle has not gone unnoticed; their fight has opened the door to debate on the organ donation policy current in place. In fact, the Organ Procurement and Transportation Network's executive committee approved a one-year change that allow children under the age of 12 to be on the priority list for organ transplants.

2 Comments

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  1. Lisa says:
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    She is only 10. That is why the “under 12″ policy became an issue.

  2. David says:
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    Thanks for reading and pointing out that typo, Lisa.