- (Photo: Facebook/Janet Ruddock Murnaghan)
The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose case sparked changes to the national organ allocation system is set for a transplant operation on Wednesday, with her mother thanking God for the positive development.
"God is great! He moved the mountain! Sarah got THE CALL," Janet Murnaghan wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday.
Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from a condition called cystic fibrosis, has been confined to the hospital for the past three months waiting for a new lung. Because she is younger than 12, she was initially denied placement in the larger adult pool of organ candidates, which would have given her a bigger chance of receiving one.
The family petitioned to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to suspend the rules and allow Sarah to be placed in the pool for adults, but that request was initially denied.
"Secretary Sebelius' decision to not exercise her very clear authority under the law to intervene and mandate a variance that would help Sarah's life is devastating," the family had said.
After public outcry and a campaign to help the 10-year old girl, a federal judge suspended the rule and put it up for review, allowing Sarah the chance to be placed on the adults list. Just a day after the decision, the family received the good news that there was a lung available for their daughter, and that an operation to save her life is now possible.
NBC News noted that it wasn't immediately clear whether the donated lung came from someone under or over 12 years old, but Janet Murnaghan made her thankfulness to everyone clear.
"Please pray for Sarah's donor, her HERO, who has given her the gift of life. Today their family has experienced a tremendous loss, may God grant them a peace that surpasses understanding. Please pray for Sarah and her surgical team and our whole family! We are overwhelmed with emotions," she added.
Some transplant experts have warned against changing the system, however, saying that it is based on medical recommendations that match children and organs with their appropriate age and size.
Art Caplan, director of medical ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center, argued that although this is very good news for the Murnaghan family, medical opinion should still be trusted over public relations efforts or legal directives.
According to the latest update by Murnaghan shortly after lunch time on Wednesday, Sarah has entered surgery. Hundreds of Facebook users have sent their prayers for the 10-year-old girl.