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Family says prognosis is good for girl's adult lung transplant

June 12, 2013|By Michael Muskal

Hours into the delicate lung transplant surgery designed to save her life, the prognosis for 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan was good, a family spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Speaking by cellphone from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, spokeswoman Maureen Garrity said the lung transplant surgery was expected to continue until 8 or 9 p.m EDT.

“The prognosis is very good,” Garrity told the Los Angeles Times. “Sarah was very sick and the recovery may take a while.”

Garrity also praised the anonymous donor of the adult set of lungs. “We recognize the sacrifice and are very grateful,” she said.

Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from severe cystic fibrosis, was the center of a fight to allow children younger than 12 to receive adult lungs instead of restricting them to a donation of lungs from another child. Far more sets of lungs from adults become available than from children.

The Murnaghan family, of suburban Philadelphia, had appealed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to order that the youngster be allowed to receive adult lungs, but Sebelius said she couldn’t bypass the existing protocols.

The family then sued in federal court in Philadelphia. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled in the family’s favor last week, issuing a temporary restraining order that suspended the age limit in the nation's transplant rules for 10 days for Sarah. The temporary restraining order also covered Javier Acosta, 11, who is still awaiting a lung donor.

Because of the court ruling, both children were on the transplant lists that separately cover adults and children.

Earlier Wednesday, the family announced via Facebook that Sarah was in surgery.

“God is great! He moved the mountain! Sarah got THE CALL,” Sarah’s mother Janet Ruddock Murnaghan wrote.

“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!!!! Thank you to all of you for the unending support. Xoxoxo!! God bless! Today is the start of Sarah's new beginning and new life!”

The family was in the hospital awaiting the results of the transplant surgery, Garrity said.

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