The 10 year old girl who made headlines when U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius refused to intervene to get her a new set of lungs received her double-lung transplant Wednesday and is now in recovery. A judge ruled last week that Sarah Murnaghan was eligible to be added to the organ donation list for adult lungs, despite being younger than the typical 12 years required by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
The Associated Press reports that in the past several days, Murnaghan's condition had worsened and her family worried that she wasn't going to make it. Though she's stable now, she's got a long road ahead of her, as the lungs aren't a cure for Murnaghan's underlying condition of cystic fibrosis. There's also a period in which the body could reject the lungs, which is the case with any organ transplant, but is more likely with children. Murnaghan's family released a statement thanking her doctors and those who had supported them, saying:
"We are elated this day has come, but we also know our good news is another family's tragedy. That family made the decision to give Sarah the gift of life -and they are the true heroes today."
While the rules were bent for Murnaghan and another young boy due to the court ruling, the OPTN has yet to make any permanent changes to their age requirement; instead, they're using "a special appeal and review system to hear such cases."
Not everyone thinks the precedent set by Murnaghan's situation is a great one. Scott Halpern, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told CBS News that Murnaghan "undoubtedly got preferential treatment," adding, "I don't think people want judges making medical decisions anymore than they want doctors deciding Supreme Court cases."
Screenshot via CBS