As 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan lies in bed at a Pennsylvania hospital waiting for a lung transplant, an intense national debate over child organ transplants is taking place over her case.
As ABC News reports today:
Health and Human Services' Secretary Katheen Sebelius has called for a review of policies affecting children awaiting lung transplants, as the parents of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl fight for their daughter to be granted the care they said she has been denied because of her age.
If Sarah Murnaghan were 12 years old, she would be at the top of the adult lung transplant list because she only has weeks to live and a lung transplant would as-good-as-cure her of cystic fibrosis.
But she's not 12, and if she doesn't get new lungs, she might not even make it to 11.
Despite a Change.org petition demanding policy change to “save Sarah” that has garnered nearly 325,000 signatures, any change in organ transplant policy isn’t likely in time to help Sarah, whose condition has recently worsened. In addition, it isn’t at all clear that a lung transplant would “as-good-as-cure” Sarah’s cystic fibrosis, according to a 2007 analysis of national transplant data.
To add some context to the debate, here are some links:
The ethics of childhood organ transplants: How would you decide who becomes a recipient?
Janice D’Arcy, The Washington Post, Jan. 18, 2012
Lung transplantation and survival in children with cystic fibrosis
New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 22, 2007
Children’s Organ Transplant Association
Provides support for families whose children need transplants