Adult lung for girl after family fights donor policy

WASHINGTON - A 10-year-old American girl whose dire need for a lung transplant catapulted her into the political spotlight underwent potentially life-saving surgery after a donor was found.

"We are thrilled to share that Sarah is out of surgery. Her doctors are very pleased with both her progress during the procedure and her prognosis for recovery," said the child's mother, Ms Janet Ruddock Murnaghan.

She wrote on Facebook that Sarah Murnaghan was recovering in the intensive care unit after the six-hour procedure at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "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," Ms Murnaghan said in the posting on Wednesday.

Surgeons had no challenges resizing and transplanting the adult donor lungs, she said.

No details were released about the identity of the donor or circumstances of the organ donation. A spokesman for the Children's Hospital declined to give details, citing patient privacy.

Last week, a US judge took the unusual step of ordering that the child be placed on an adult waiting list, after Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius declined to intervene and the family filed a lawsuit, alleging that current US standards discriminated against children.

A change.org petition by the girl's family and friends, appealing for a new donor policy regarding children in need of transplants, drew more than 372,000 supporters.

The practice of transplanting adult organs into children is relatively rare. Just one lung transplant has been carried out in the United States since 2007 involving a donor older than 18 and a recipient younger than 12, according to government data.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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