Friday, August 30th, 2013
Sarah Murnaghan has finally returned home. The 11-year-old, who has cystic fibrosis, underwent a double lung transplant earlier this summer after a federal judge temporarily changed the national policy governing organ transplants, allowing Murnaghan to be placed on adult transplant lists. More from NBC News:
“Sarah’s looking forward to being a regular little kid,” her mother, Janet Murnaghan, said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “We’re looking forward to Sarah having a nice long life.”
The child with end-stage cystic fibrosis received the lung transplants in June after a federal judge intervened on her parents’ behalf and allowed her to be considered earlier on the adult lung transplant list for her region. The move sparked a furious national debate about lung transplant allocation and changed the way the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network considers cases of severely ill children waiting for the transplants.
A first set of lungs failed, and Sarah received a second set three days later.
Sarah has improved enough to be free of oxygen for the first time in 2 1/2 years, though she still needs some help from a machine to breathe, she’s walking short distances on her own and engaging in physical therapy to gain strength, according to her mother, who has posted updates about her daughter to Facebook. Tests of lung tissue showed no sign of rejection, the mother wrote.
Image: Sarah Murnaghan, via NBC News
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Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Sarah Murnaghan, the 10-year-old girl who was at the center of the debate around whether children should be placed on priority lists for the transplant of adult organs, has awakened from a medically induced coma two weeks after a successful transplant of two lungs. Murnaghan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, was the case behind the ruling earlier this month temporarily allowing children under age 12 to receive adult organs. More from NBC News:
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Sarah Murnaghan was able to respond to questions, a family spokesperson told NBC10.com.
She received her new lungs on June 12, after spending three months at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with end-stage cystic fibrosis.
Sarah, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, became the subject of national media headlines when her parents sued over national transplant rules that place children behind adolescents and adults on the list for adult lungs.
U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson intervened, ordering that Sarah be put on the adult list, where the urgency of her case led to a match days later.
The transplant isn’t a cure for cystic fibrosis, but it can extend her life by years.
Family spokesperson Tracy Simon said Sarah woke from the coma on Friday and was responding to simple questions by nodding to indicate yes or no, The Associated Press reported. Two days earlier, she was moved from a heavy-duty breathing machine to a traditional ventilator.
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Sarah Murnaghan, the 10-year-old Pennsylvania cystic fibrosis patient who’s been at the center of the debate over organ transplant policy, underwent a lung transplant yesterday, receiving adult lungs and a positive prognosis from her doctors. Earlier this week, the national policy governing transplants was given a one-year change, allowing children under age 12 to be placed on priority lists to receive transplants of adult organs.
CNN reports on Murnaghan’s surgery:
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Her surgery took about six hours, and there were no complications resizing or transplanting the adult lungs, according to family spokeswoman Tracy Simon.
A statement said the family was elated and that the doctors say Sarah’s prognosis is good.
“We expect it will be a long road, but we’re not going for easy, we’re going for possible. And an organ donor has made this possible for her,” the family said, calling the family of the deceased person who donated the lungs “true heroes.”
Sarah “did extremely well” and was in intensive care after the procedure, Simon said.
The parents’ push for an organ transplant policy change has thrust the issue of who gets donated organs into the national spotlight. Earlier this week, the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network’s executive committee approved a one-year change that makes children younger than 12 eligible for priority on adult lung transplant lists.
Sarah received lungs donated by an adult, according to Simon, meaning the lungs needed to be modified. An OPTN news release said Monday that since 2007 only one patient younger than 12 had received adult lungs.
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
The national policy that governs the way organ donations and transplants work has been given a one-year change to allow children under age 12 to be eligible for priority on adult transplant lists. The temporary change was prompted by a lawsuit filed by the family of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis and needs a lung transplant. More from CNN:
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The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s executive committee approved the change in a conference call. It said in a statement that doctors may submit a request to a national review board to have a child who is younger than 12 put on a list for older patients.
The board has seven days to approve the request, taking into account the child’s lung allocation score.
The policy change is valid until July 2014, when it will be re-evaluated.
The temporary exception stems from a case filed by the family of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis and needs new lungs. A federal junction last week ordered U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to tell the OPTN to set aside the rule, but the injunction was good for only 10 days.
“We consider this a tremendous win for Sarah and all kids waiting for lungs,” her mother, Janet, said in a statement on Facebook. “I hope Sarah’s story moves people to become organ donors, because more than any ruling it is the heroes who donate their organs that save lives.”
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Amid all the remarkable stories to emerge after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore and Lower Manhattan last month, one stands out as what many would describe as miraculous. Natalia Dreeland, a 4-year-old girl who was suffering from a rare but potentially life-threatening disease that required a liver transplant. From The New York Times:
“[The disease] causes a tremendous overgrowth of a type of cell in the immune system and can damage organs. Drugs can sometimes keep it in check, but they did not work for Natalia.
In her case, the disease struck the bile ducts, which led to progressive liver damage. “She would have eventually gone into liver failure,” said Dr. Nadia Ovchinsky, a pediatric liver transplant specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian. “And she demonstrated some signs of early liver failure.”
The only hope was a transplant.
The call Natalia’s parents had so eagerly awaited–that a liver had become available for Natalia–came at the worst possible time, though–just as Hurricane Sandy bore down on the region.
At the hospital in New York, Tod Brown, an organ procurement coordinator, had alerted a charter air carrier that a flight from Nevada might be needed. That company in turn contacted West Coast carriers to pick up the donated liver and fly it to New York.
Initially, two carriers agreed, but then backed out. Several other charter companies also declined.
Mr. Brown told Dr. Kato that they might have to decline the organ. Dr. Kato, soft-spoken but relentless, said, “Find somebody who can fly.”
Finally, one of the charter companies made the flight, and Natalia had her surgery as the storm raged.
Three weeks later, she is back home, on the mend. The complicated regimen of drugs that transplant patients need is tough on a child, but she is getting through it, her father said.
Recently, Mr. Dreeland said, he found himself weeping uncontrollably during a church service for the family of the child who had died. “Their child gave my child life,” he said.
Though only time will tell, because the histiocytosis appeared limited to Natalia’s bile ducts and had not affected other organs, her doctors say there is a good chance that the transplant has cured her.”
Image: Hospital room, via Shutterstock
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