Don’t Allow Young Girl to Die Because of Lung Donor Policy

Target: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

Goal: Change Pennsylvania lung donor law so young girl may receive an adult lung transplant

Ten-year-old cystic fibrosis patient Sarah Murnaghan needs a new lung. If she doesn’t get one, she won’t survive. Please add your voice to the thousands of voices already clamoring for a change in policy.

Because Sarah is under twelve, she is not eligible to receive a lung donation from an adult. The reasoning behind this is that an adult lung would be too large for her chest cavity, but all kids are different. Not searching for a lung her size is the same as taking away a chance that might save her life in favor of no chance at all.

She’s been waiting for a lung transplant for a year and half, and she’s fading fast. Doctors give her only a few more weeks to live.

Her parents don’t want Sarah to receive special treatment; they want her to receive fair treatment. In adults, organ donations are received based on greatest need. That’s what Sarah needs. She’s already top priority on the pediatric list, but there are fewer child donors due to improved pediatric care.

Dr. Stuart Sweet said that more adults die while on the waiting list than children; however, there are fewer children waiting for donors than adults. Children on the waiting list die at a greater rate than adults.

He suggested that the family make a direct appeal to an adult transplant center, and they have been. This shouldn’t happen again. If she’s top priority, she should be treated. Therefore, please urge Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to propose a change to the medical system. There are small adults. There are large children. There is no reason to say no.


Dear Madam Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,

Please propose a change to the medical system. Sarah Murnaghan needs a new lung, but she has not received one due to her young age. Doctors aren’t sure an adult lung would fit her and they aren’t willing to make an exception for her, but wouldn’t a small adult lung fit her perfectly?

She needs a lung. Any lung. As long as it’s new and healthy, doctors cannot deny her a chance to live. She’s top priority in her age range. She shouldn’t be forced to endure because fewer children her age die as compared to adults.

If the law doesn’t change, this will just happen again. Please propose a change in order to save her, and in order to save other children like her.


[Your Name Here]

Photocredit: Anne Weston via Flickr

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