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PHILADELPHIA — The national organ transplant network has complied with a judge’s unusual order and placed a dying 10-year-old girl on the adult waiting list for a donated lung, and a patient at the same hospital asked the court for the same relief.
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network added the girl to the list Wednesday night after U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson’s ruling, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today.
The girl, Sarah Murnaghan, also remains on the priority list for a lung from a pediatric donor, Sebelius said. Her family, through a spokeswoman, said Sarah’s condition had worsened today.
The mother of an 11-year-old Bronx boy at the same hospital filed a lawsuit today, asking a federal judge to add him to the list and saying he was facing death soon without a donated organ.
Javier Acosta, a boy with cystic fibrosis, is currently in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The lawsuit said his brother was Javier’s age when he died while waiting for a lung transplant two years ago. A judge scheduled a hearing on a preliminary injunction for June 14.
Sarah’s parents had challenged existing transplant policy that made children under 12 wait for pediatric lungs to become available, or be offered lungs donated by adults after adolescents and adults on the waiting list had been considered.
The ruling applied only to Sarah, who has end-stage cystic fibrosis. An expert questioned the decision on medical and ethical grounds.
Sarah’s family, who live Newtown Square in suburban Philadelphia, filed suit Wednesday. The Murnaghans say pediatric lungs are rarely donated, so they believe older children should have equal access to adult donations.
Baylson suspended the age limit in the nation’s transplant rules for 10 days for Sarah, who has been at the Philadelphia hospital for three months. A June 14 hearing on the request has been scheduled for a broader injunction.
Nationwide, about 1,700 people are on the waiting list for a lung transplant, including 31 children under age 11, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
Sebelius had declined to become involved in the case earlier this week, despite urgent pleas from several Pennsylvania congressmen.