Organ Donation Group Agrees To Revise Policy

Organ Donation Group Agrees To Revise Policy

Posted: Updated:

Will Sarah Murnaghan receive the lungs she needs to save her life? No one can answer that question just yet.

But she and other children like her may now have a better chance of survival.

Sarah is 10 years old. Under current organ donor rules, she has to be 12 to get on an adult waiting list, where there are many more lung donations than on the pediatric list. Her parents appealed, but the OPTN, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, at first turned them away.

According to family lawyer Steve Harvey, "My clients specifically sought review of their cases by the OPTN and were told there was no process by which they could be considered, they couldn't even think about whether to treat them as if they were 12."

So her parents launched a massive publicity campaign, insisting that Sarah was being discriminated against because of her age. That forced the transplant network to take a longer, closer look at Sarah's case. The executive committee met by phone tonight, and it didn't sound promising.

Dr. Steven Webber, a member of OPTN, "We did not feel that there was overwhelming compelling evidence of a systematic unfairness or discrimination as it's been said in the current system. We felt we should continue to study this carefully but urgently, but in a standard manner."

In other words, many on the panel didn't want to take immediate action on Sarah's case, for fear that it would set a bad precedent. But in the end, Sarah's story did prompt some change. The OPTN would not suspend the age restriction. But it did agree to revise its policy, so child candidates like Sarah could appeal. As of Monday night, her hospital's lung transplant program can now request that she be considered alongside the adults.

So according to Harvey, "They can make the appeal but there's no guarantee they'll be put on that list. It takes the decision out of the hands of lawyers and a judge and puts it before transplant professionals."

On her Facebook page, Sarah's mom Janet called it a tremendous win for her daughter and for all kids waiting for lungs, including Javier Acosta, who is two months shy of his 12th birthday. The lung review board will have seven days to reach a decision.

  • Sarah's FightMore>>

  • Sarah Murnaghan Leaves CHOP, Arrives Home!

    Sarah Murnaghan Leaves CHOP, Arrives Home!

    Wednesday, December 18 2013 12:12 PM EST2013-12-18 17:12:02 GMT
    After several months in the hospital and agonizing surgeries, 11-year-old Sarah Murnaghan is finally going home today.
    After several months in the hospital and agonizing surgeries, 11-year-old Sarah Murnaghan is finally home!
  • Sarah Murnaghan Breaths On Her Own

    Sarah Murnaghan Breaths On Her Own

    Tuesday, September 17 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-09-18 00:36:11 GMT
    In the video, Sarah's aunt asks Sarah, "Are you off your machines?" To which Sarah eventually responds, "I feel fine."
    In the video, Sarah's aunt asks Sarah, "Are you off your machines?" To which Sarah eventually responds, "I feel fine."
  • Sarah Murnaghan Recovering At Home

    Sarah Murnaghan Recovering At Home

    Tuesday, September 17 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-09-18 00:26:48 GMT
    Sarah's mom says she's looking forward to playing with her friends, singing and playing soccer. She'll basically enjoy the normal life of an 11-year-old.
    Sarah's mom says she's looking forward to playing with her friends, singing and playing soccer. She'll basically enjoy the normal life of an 11-year-old.
  • FOX 29 Health FeaturesMore>>

  • Dr. Mike: Canned Tuna Warning For Pregnant Women

    Dr. Mike: Canned Tuna Warning For Pregnant Women

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:30 AM EDT2014-08-22 13:30:23 GMT

    Expectant mothers, think it's OK to eat canned tuna? Well, think again! Dr. Mike explains why it may actually be more dangerous than fresh fish.

    Expectant mothers, think it's OK to eat canned tuna? Well, think again! Dr. Mike explains why it may actually be more dangerous than fresh fish.


  • Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Thursday, August 14 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-08-15 01:59:13 GMT
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 

  • Cancer Survivor, Transplant Recipient, Iron Man Touts 'Donor Dash' To Students

    Cancer Survivor, Transplant Recipient, Iron Man Touts 'Donor Dash' To Students

    Tuesday, August 5 2014 4:19 PM EDT2014-08-05 20:19:30 GMT
    The 19th annual Dash for Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness, also known as the "Donor Dash," is coming up on April 13.
    The 19th annual Dash for Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness, also known as the "Donor Dash," is coming up on April 13.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Burglars Stole Equipment Used To Teach Kids With Special Needs

    Police: Burglars Stole Equipment Used To Teach Kids With Special Needs

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:37:44 GMT
    Police say some cold-hearted crooks broke into a Philadelphia school and stole important equipment needed to teach children with special needs.
    Police say some cold-hearted crooks broke into a Philadelphia school and stole important equipment needed to teach children with special needs.
  • Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach

    Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:19:13 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a credit card data breach. The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer told The Associated Press Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and that working with both banks and law enforcement.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a credit card data breach. The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer told The Associated Press Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and that working with both banks and law enforcement.
  • DA: 15-Year-Old Girl Was Driving At Time Of Crash In Wayne County

    DA: 15-Year-Old Girl Was Driving At Time Of Crash In Wayne County

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:14:25 GMT
    There are new developments in the deadly crash that killed three Council Rock High School South students.
    There are new developments in the deadly crash that killed three Council Rock High School South students.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices