Court Order Lets Sarah, 10, Join Adult Transplant List

Court Order Lets Sarah, 10, Join Adult Transplant List

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PHILADELPHIA -

Sarah Murnaghan will now be able to receive adult lungs! Her family has won an emergency motion to suspend the current donor rule that only allows children 12 and over to be eligible for adult lungs.

Her family says this means Sarah can now go on the list for an adult transplant.

But on a day when the 10-year-old should be celebrating, we're told she's not doing too well. Her heart is pumping harder because her lungs are closer to giving out, FOX 29's Omari Fleming reported Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

Sarah has cystic fibrosis and she needs new lungs to live, and the court order could be a second chance at life.

Child lung donations are rare and, according to the current rule, Sarah is too young for adult lungs.

"We have a really, really good opportunity to get lungs," Sarah's aunt, Sharon Ruddock, told FOX 29 on Wednesday.

Judge Michael Baylson issued a temporary restraining order after hearing oral arguments Wednesday afternoon on a federal lawsuit filed by Sarah's parents. It challenged an "Under 12 Rule" that was keeping the 10-year-old off the adult transplant list.

Baylson's order tells Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to direct the group that manages the organ transplant list to cease application of it in Sarah's case.

And if there is another child in the judicial district in Sarah's situation, the judge would consider and probably grant a temporary restraining order for them, too, if the case is presented in court.

The judge's ruling is in effect until a hearing scheduled for 10 days from now, on June 14 at 10 a.m.

The organ transplant network will hold an emergency review meeting on Monday.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey issued a statement just after the ruling came down, saying, "Finally, we have some positive news for Sarah and her family. I applaud today's ruling and am grateful to Judge Baylson for quickly issuing his decision on such an important matter."

Ruddock, who joined doctors in arguing Sarah's case before the judge, was also pleased.

"We were overjoyed, and I just couldn't believe it," Ruddock said. "And I know the 10 days could mean her living a good, full life that she deserves."

In a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, the Murnaghan family said, "We are experiencing many emotions: relief, happiness, gratitude and, for the first time in months: hope."

READ: Complete Murnaghan Family Statement On Court Ruling

The family went on to say, "We cannot say enough about the global outreach and support we've received on behalf of Sarah—people of all ages and walks of life have reached out to us, prayed for us, and asked how they could help."

They're also urging everyone to register to become an organ donor.

The Murnaghans retained a lawyer this week and quickly filed their lawsuit, arguing that the rule keeping Sarah off the list is "discriminatory."

A news release said the Murnaghan family felt they could no longer wait for Sebelius to do what they consider the right thing.

"Secretary Sebelius is well aware of Sarah's condition, that there are other children who could also die without relief from the Under 12 rule and she has chosen to let them die," Janet Murnaghan, Sarah's mother, was quoted as saying. "We will not stand by and let Sarah die and we have filed in federal court for an immediate injunction to do what Secretary Sebelius will not give Sarah and other children in her position a fair chance at life."

The Murnaghans stressed that they were not asking for an exception for their daughter. They claim that in comments to the media, Sebelius has continually diverted attention from the real issue by saying she "cannot make an exception for one child."

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