Pennsylvania girl who got lung transplants recovering from more surgery

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 11:41 PM

(Reuters) - A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis who sparked a national debate about child access to organ donations that led to two lung transplant operations was in recovery on Tuesday after surgery to repair her diaphragm, her family said.

Sarah Murnaghan had been left off an adult transplant list because of an age restriction and became eligible only after a judge's order. She had her first lung transplant on June 12, but complications forced a second transplant within days.

On Tuesday, she underwent surgery on her diaphragm, her mother, Janet Ruddock Murnaghan, said in a Facebook posting. The surgery was intended to make it easier for her new lungs to expand.

"Sarah is still mostly sedated, waking periodically in pain, so aggressive pain management is underway," Murnaghan said.

Murnaghan said doctors would begin to slowly wean Sarah from a ventilator on Wednesday and they expected to know by next week whether her muscles are strong enough for her to breathe on her own when they remove the breathing tube, or if she will need a temporary tracheostomy while her muscles strengthen.

The family, which lives in a Philadelphia suburb, sued to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing a policy that prevents children under 12 from receiving adult lung transplants, no matter how ill they are.

People with cystic fibrosis, or CF, have an average life span of about 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CF is an inherited disease of the mucus glands that primarily affects the respiratory and digestive systems.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)