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Organ Procurement And Transplantation Network Allows Children To Apply For Adult Lungs

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PHILADELPHIA -

A year after Sarah Murnaghan's brave fight for a lung transplant, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network voted Monday to allow children to apply for adult lungs.

It's welcome news for many families, especially for the Murnaghan family.

Fox 29's Dave Kinchen spoke with Sarah Murnaghan's family after the ruling.

"It was great. I felt that I knew it was possible," said Sarah after the decision was made.

The family praised a decision by a OPTN, which gives children like Sarah a better chance at receiving adult lung transplants.

At just 10 years old, Sarah underwent two double lung transplants while battling cystic fibrosis. A judge's order allowed her to get on an adult organ donor waiting list, despite her young age.

Under the original guidelines, children under the age of 12 had to wait for pediatric lungs to be available, while adult lungs could not be offered to children until they had been offered to adults and adolescents first.

The Murnaghans argued the rule.

Originally, former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to grant an exception to the rule. But on June 5, 2013, a federal court judge granted a temporary order that allowed Sarah to join an adult organ transplant list.

Just seven days after the ruling, Sarah received a pair of adult lungs and underwent her first lung transplant. However, she suffered from a complication called primary graft failure (PGF), which caused her health to deteriorate after the initial operation.

Fortunately, three days later on June 15, the family was told that a new pair of adult lungs was available for Sarah, and she underwent a second transplant which ultimately was a success.

The Murnaghan family have not only been fighting for the perfect life for the the last several years, but has also been fighting to change donor rules to help more children qualify for transplants.

"Of course, it was wonderful to make an impact for Sarah, but to have made an impact potentially for other kids, there's been one other child who received lungs from a donor over 12 as a result of this,” said mother, Janet Murnaghan.

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