Health & Fitness News
Docs Remove Chest Tubes from 10-Year-Old Lung Transplant Recipient
(PHILADELPHIA) -- The 10-year-old girl whose parents successfully fought a rule preventing her from qualifying for adult lungs is breathing without chest tubes after receiving a lung transplant from an adult donor on June 12. She is, however, still intubated and not breathing entirely on her own.
Sarah Murnaghan, who was dying of cystic fibrosis this time last month, had her chest tubes removed on Friday. Doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia first removed the tubes on Wednesday, but had to replace them because Sarah's body "could not handle the reduced support" at the time.
According to a statement, Sarah is being prepared for extubation so that she can breathe entirely on her own.
"I have cried quite a bit," her mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page June 26, when Sarah's tubes were replaced to assist her breathing. "I just wish everything wasn't so ridiculously hard for her. Her doctors assure us that this does not change her long-term outcome, but just means she needs more time to regain her strength."
But earlier on Friday, Murnaghan posted again:
"Last two chest tubes are OUT!!!!!!!" she wrote.
Murnaghan started a viral Change.org petition, calling attention to what would become known as the Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.
On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah. By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions to be made depending on the case. Sarah's case was expected to be reviewed in court on June 14, but she got her transplant the day before.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive fluid. Patients typically suffer so much lung damage that they often go into respiratory failure, which is why Sarah needed a lung transplant to survive.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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