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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/6/2013 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sarah Murnaghan lung transplant case seen to have far-reaching medical implications

The decision will have a far-reaching effect on patients waiting on lists for organ transplants. A federal judge this week ordered HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan to be moved to the adult lung transplant list. The ruling will give her a far better chance of receiving a potentially life-saving transplant.

Sarah Murnaghan has cystic fibrosis and her doctors say she may only live a few weeks without the transplant. On the waiting list for pediatric donors for 18 months, Sarah's condition is worsening.

Sarah Murnaghan has cystic fibrosis and her doctors say she may only live a few weeks without the transplant. On the waiting list for pediatric donors for 18 months, Sarah's condition is worsening.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/6/2013 (10 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Lung transplant Kathleen Sibelius, Sarah Murnaghan, waiting list


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The ruling followed a campaign by the family and some members of Congress to pressure the Obama administration to change federal policy. Children less than 12 years of age previously had been placed at the bottom of waiting lists. The ruling was made with amazing alacrity after an emergency meeting.

Sarah has cystic fibrosis and her doctors say she may only live a few weeks without the transplant. On the waiting list for pediatric donors for 18 months, Sarah's condition is worsening. There is also no guarantee that even with the judge's ruling, a suitable donor will be found in time.

Sebelius has been in the forefront of the controversy. Several right-wing blogs and commentators has been denounced as a one-woman "death panel." The child's mother said Sebelius was choosing to let children die.

The ruling may now have taken some of the immediate heat off Sebelius and the Obama administration. Yet it opened up a host of other questions about organ donation policy and hot-button health care politics.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson wrote in a temporary restraining order that by refusing to set aside the existing rule for children, Sebelius had failed "to protect the very few children nationally who are subject to it."

Baylson added that the evidence showed that the rule "discriminates against children and serves no purpose, is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion." Baylson then scheduled a hearing for June 14.

The ruling leaves many lives in balance. It's not yet known what this means for the rules that match patients with donors for lung transplants in the country, or how other patients and families in life or death situations would react.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which helps set national policy has scheduled an emergency meeting for next week and will consider suspending the lung donor policy while it is reviewed, an HHS lawyer said at the emergency hearing in Philadelphia.

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