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Pennsylvania girl got second lung transplant after first failed

June 28, 2013|By Devin Kelly
  • Janet Murnaghan, mother of 10-year-old lung transplant recipient Sarah Murnaghan, speaks during a news conference outside Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Janet Murnaghan, mother of 10-year-old lung transplant recipient Sarah… (Matt Slocum / Associated…)

The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who underwent a double lung transplant received a second set of lungs three days after the first set failed, her family said Friday.

In a Facebook update, Sarah Murnaghan’s mother said her daughter’s condition “spiraled out of control” hours after the family announced on June 12 that the first surgery -- which was done after a federal judge intervened to allow Sarah to receive adult lungs -- had been a success. 

The complication, called primary graft failure, occurs in 10% to 25% of lung transplants, Janet Murnaghan said in the update.

After moving Sarah to an emergency bypass machine, doctors told the Murnaghan family it was unlikely the girl would survive more than a week.

In a news conference Friday afternoon in Philadelphia, Janet Murnaghan said the family was not prepared to disclose Sarah’s condition at that time, the Associated Press reported.

“We were told … that she was going to die,” Murnaghan said. “We weren’t prepared to live out her dying in public.”

The family reported publicly that Sarah was awake and responsive at the same time that doctors were trying to find a new set of lungs.  

In the Facebook posting, the family said they learned on June 15 that new lungs were available, but the surgery was risky because the lungs were infected with pneumonia. They took the chance.  

Ever since, Janet Murnaghan wrote, her daughter’s condition has steadily improved. The girl is now doing well, and this week took her first breaths on her own without the help of a ventilator, she said.

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devin.kelly@latimes.com

Twitter: @devkelly17

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