Lung Transplant Surgery Underway for 10 Year Old - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Lung Transplant Surgery Underway for 10 Year Old

Posted: Updated:

Girl getting long-awaited lung transplant

From Jason Carroll CNN (CNN) Sarah Murnaghan was in transplant surgery Wednesday morning

Her family fought to change the policy for children's lung transplants

A federal judge ordered officials to waive the rules in her case

Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis whose family fought to have her prioritized for adult organs, is getting a new set of lungs, her family told CNN on Wednesday.

Sarah was in surgery Wednesday morning.

"God is great! He moved the mountain! Sarah got THE CALL," a statement on her Facebook page said. "Please pray for Sarah's donor, her HERO, who has given her the gift of life."

The parents' push for an organ transplant policy change has thrust the issue of who gets donated organs into the national spotlight.

Sarah has been in and out of hospitals her entire life, but her condition worsened this year. Her lungs had been deteriorating rapidly over the last few months -- much faster than anyone in her family expected. In May, doctors told her mother, Janet Murnaghan, that Sarah had less than five weeks to live.

"We knew at some point, she would need new lungs," her father, Fran Murnaghan, said in May. "We had hoped it would be much further down the road, but the disease has progressed."

At that time, Sarah had been on the waiting list for new lungs for 18 months.

The Murnaghans were under the impression that the transplant would happen any day, since she was the first candidate on the priority list for children in her region.

But children's organs rarely become available. In 2012, there were just 10 transplants in Sarah's age group, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Comparatively, there were more than 1,700 adult transplants in the same year. Only people 12 years and older qualified for the adult lungs.

Last week, the Murnaghans contacted a lawyer, who petitioned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to change the rules that keep children under 12 from being prioritized for donated lungs. They argued the rule was making it all but impossible for Sarah to receive a lung; every adult on the list would have to turn down the lung to let the little girl have it.

"The Under 12 Rule is unfair, arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with the statute and regulations, and stands in the way of Sarah potentially receiving a set of lungs that she needs to live," wrote Stephen G. Harvey, the family's lawyer.

On June 5, the family asked a federal judge to issue a restraining order to block Sebelius from having the agency that oversees transplants apply the policy. The judge granted the injunction and ordered Sebelius to direct the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to waive the rule in Sarah's case.

A letter from Sebelius was sent to the organ network the following day directing them to comply with the judge's order.

20130612T151818+0000

  • Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:10 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:10:34 GMT
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
  • Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:07:27 GMT
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
  • Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:03:27 GMT
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>