Bayles ordered Sebelius to instruct the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to add Sarah to the adult list “so that she can be considered ... based on the medical severity of her condition as compared to the medical severity of persons over 12.”
Sebelius has called for a review of pediatric transplant policies amid the higher death rates for pediatric patients, but the Murnaghans say Sarah doesn’t have time for that.
“Now Sarah has a chance for a lung transplant, and I plan to keep fighting for her and others who deserve to be eligible,” said Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. “Secretary Sebelius should use her authorities to make medical need and suitability, rather than age, be the primary criteria in determining how organ donations are prioritized.”
Joel Newman, a spokesman for the Virginia-based United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the national organ transplant system, said he isn’t aware of any previous court action that had “a material effect” on a transplant case.
UNOS sets policies based on feedback from expert committees that include both doctors and transplant recipients, Newman said.
Researchers have less data on lung transplants in pre-adolescents because so few are done, and young children suffer from somewhat different lung problems, according to Dr. John P. Roberts, the network’s president.