Sarah's Family Makes Legal Case For Sebelius To Intervene

Sarah's Family Makes Legal Case For Sebelius To Intervene

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PHILADELPHIA -

It is a race against time for the family of a 10-year-old girl in desperate need of a lung transplant.

As we've told you, young Sarah Murnaghan has cystic fibrosis and needs new lungs to save her life.

But donor regulations state that if you're under age 12 you must wait for a child donor, not an adult.

Sarah's mom says that's wasting time her daughter simply doesn't have, and she's calling out the federal government for what she feels is lack of effort to change the policy.

Now, Sarah's family is putting out a plea to the public to help save this little girl's life.

Janet Murnaghan joined "Good Day Philadelphia" live from outside Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Monday morning.

"She's sleeping this morning," she said of her daughter. "She had a little bit of a rough afternoon, but the night was OK."

Janet Murnaghan said did speak personally with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week, before the secretary made her decision to call upon the donor organization policy to review its policy.

"She was very compassionate at the time and acted as if she was going to do the best as she could on our behalf," Janet Murnaghan said. "After the decision was made that they were going to move forward and look into this law and try to make changes, that they were going to try to leave Sarah to die, after that point, she didn't the return any phone calls."

If Sebelius essentially said that the system needs to be changed, FOX 29's Mike Jerrick asked why won't she change it right now to save Sarah and work through the government red tape later?

"Well, right, we're not talking about thousands of children that are really going to throw the system and harm anyone else," Janet Murnaghan said. "We're probably talking about a half a dozen kids right now in Sarah's position at risk of dying right now because of these laws. And, so, there is no justification, in my opinion, for letting these children die when you can see quite plainly that the law is not working – the way it's set up is not working."

As frustrating as that situation is, the family is getting desperate, and they're also looking for ways to work around the law. That could include getting lungs from another child or adult who tragically passes away, if the family specifically designates that they should go to Sarah.

"Our position at this point is there are so many beautiful people out there who do give the gift of life, and that is so important. And we're asking that somebody in that position, that awful position, to give the gift of life that they consider naming Sarah as a direct donor," Janet Murnaghan said.

The mother went on to say that her family has retained an attorney and, with that legal counsel, "presented Secretary Sebelius with a letter outlining the law and explaining to her why she does have legal authority to make this change."

So, they have not given up on Sebelius changing her decision.

"We have not given up. We will never give up," Janet Murnaghan said. "Our plea is that Sarah doesn't have enough time for this government battle, and that's why we're appealing to the American people to say, you know, if you are in this awful position but you're making that beautiful decision to save someone's life, that you consider naming Sarah.

"But in the meantime we will continue to fight for all of the kids, including Sarah, and we will never give up. We will never quit."

Click here to see the Change.org petition seeking changes to the transplant policies to save Sarah. More than 300,000 people have already signed the online document.

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