Sarah Murnaghan’s mother Janet Murnaghan said yesterday that the family will retreat from its public position while the 10-year-old lung transplant patient recovers from her surgery.
As I previously reported for The Inquisitr, the 10-year-old cystic fibrosis patient was thrust into the spotlight when her family discovered that Sarah was at or near the bottom of the list of potential patients to receive a modified pair of adult lungs.
A 12-year-old girl in the same medical situation would have been at the very top of the list, based on her need.
As Janet Murnaghan explained in a recent post on her Facebook page:
“If you are over 12 it does NOT matter how long you have waited on the transplant list. What matters is your LAS score. This is a measure of the severity of your illness. So if you have been on the list one hour but you are the sickest you get the lungs if they are a match and in your region.
If you are under 12 it is the amount of time you have waited that matters. So if you are dying and have been on the list one hour you will NOT get the lungs.”
Sarah Murnaghan has been living at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with her family since February and recently entered the intensive care unit.
After her family challenged the rules that blocked Sarah from getting lungs even though she was in desperate need, Federal Judge Michael Baylson ordered Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to stop enforcing the rule.
As a result, Sarah was called on Wednesday and underwent hours of surgery to receive a new pair of lungs.
The fight for Sarah’s life was very public. But now the family is calling for some peace. In a statement Friday, Janet Murnaghan said:
“As you all know Sarah was very, very sick going into transplant, therefore the road out is hard and long. We are focusing all of our attention on Sarah and as a result are silent. If there are any BIG positive updates I will give them for sure.”
As a result of the Murnaghan family’s example, the organ transplant network has created an appeals process for around 30 other children who are also waiting for lungs. Judge Baylson placed 11-year-old Javíer Acosta on the list in the same ruling that helped Sarah. He will be treated after her because he is not as desperately ill.
The Acosta family has already lost one child to cystic fibrosis.
Other children under age 12 may also benefit. In an ABC interview on Saturday 10-year-old Jordan Peterson, who also has cystic fibrosis, said he was happy for Sarah:
“[S]he was on a ventilator and she was dying, so I was definitely really happy for her.” And when she came through the surgery OK, he was even more excited, telling reporters that he too is ready for new lungs “even right now.”
Others may debate the various ethical, medical, and legal issues surrounding the case. But for many people it’s time to focus on the healing for Sarah Murnaghan and other young patients.
[Sarah Murnaghan photo by Janet Murnaghan via Facebook]