Sarah Murnaghan's Lung Transplant Complete, Family Says - FOX 13 News

Sarah Murnaghan's Lung Transplant Complete, Family Says

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Sarah Murnaghan, 10, was added to an adult organ transplant list after a federal court stepped, followed by rule revisions by an organ transplant group. Sarah Murnaghan, 10, was added to an adult organ transplant list after a federal court stepped, followed by rule revisions by an organ transplant group.
PHILADELPHIA -

It was a successful transplant surgery for Sarah Murnaghan!

The 10-year-old's family says she's doing well after the lung transplant, but they haven't lost sight of the sacrifice made to save her life.

The young girl fighting cystic fibrosis underwent a six-hour operation Wednesday at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Sarah's aunt says the lungs did not come from someone who designated the organs specifically for Sarah. The lungs came as a result of her being on the adult donor list.

"That family has given Sarah a chance of life and a chance at a future she wouldn't have had. We are quite certain we were down to the last week," said the aunt, Sharon Ruddock.

Sarah will be in the hospital for at least another couple of weeks.

The goal is to have her breathing unassisted with her new lungs in the next two days.

This was all made possible by her family's battle to get her on an adult organ list. Sarah needed to be 12 to get on an adult waiting list under existing organ donor rules. Her parents appealed but were turned away.

Last week, federal court Judge Michael Baylson issued a temporary restraining order that called for a hearing 10 days out and called for a review of the "Under 12 Rule."

That organization's review board took a closer look at Sarah's case Monday night and agreed to revise its policy so child candidates like Sarah could appeal.

FOX 29's Claudia Gomez spoke Wednesday afternoon with Sarah's mom, Janet Murnaghan, while the surgery was going on.

"We are excited -- I mean, nervous because my baby's in surgery, but overall excited because we really didn't have any great alternatives in front of us," Janet Murnaghan said outside Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

WATCH VIDEO: Janet Murnaghan Talks To FOX 29

It turns out the Murnaghans got word at 10 p.m. Tuesday night that Sarah was getting lungs, but it was the fourth time this had happened.

"We waited to tell everyone because up until the last minute things can change," Janet Murnaghan said. "And we had three other times where an hour before surgery it was canceled. And so we wanted to wait until it was a certain thing."

"...I mean, it's been crazy, and we've sort of sitting there all night hoping and praying that this one would work, and so it was really thrilling. Really, you find out that you have the final go, and then literally 15 minutes later they take her out in the hall and wheel her down."

Sarah has been in a medically-induced coma since Saturday and had one week to live before donor lungs arrived, her mother says.

"They intubated her. She's paralyzed. She's not breathing on her own. So, I'm not sure how much she's understanding me," the mother said Wednesday afternoon. "I kissed her goodbye. It was an easier way to say goodbye to her than if she were awake and scared."

The surgery is a complicated procedure, made all the more difficult, her doctors say, because of the lung disease CF that nearly killed her. Removal of her lungs will be more difficult than putting the new ones in.

"We're just so thankful for the donor," Janet Murnaghan said Wednesday afternoon. "I know that this is, for their family it's a huge loss. So this great day for me is a really tragic day for them. That's not lost on me, that for her to live, you know, that somebody else gave her this amazing gift. And we're just so thankful."

The most difficult part of the "lobar lung transplant," doctors told the family, would be removing Sarah's lungs, due to her CF, not resizing and putting the adult lungs in their place.

Word that the surgery had been successful came first from a family statement Wednesday night.

It said Sarah is settled in the intensive care unit to start her recovery, and surgeons said they had no problems transplanting or resizing the donor's lungs.

The family thanked Sarah's team of doctors, the surgeon, as well as all the people who were there to support her along the way.

In addition, the true heroes are the parents that made the decision to give Sarah a chance at life, according to the family statement.

Sarah's family expects a long road ahead to recovery for her.

"We expect it will be a long road, but we're not going for easy, we're going for possible. And an organ donor has made this possible for her," the family said in a statement.

While Sarah's lung transplant is a huge step and a big win for the family, the fight isn't over for other children in need.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who spoke out on Sarah's behalf, had this to say: "She has needed this, and we're so grateful to the donor family for making this possible. Longer term, we've got to continue on working to correct a flawed policy that made it so difficult for Sarah to get to this point. But I am hopeful that we'll be able to make that progress."

Fellow Sen. Bob Casey and Congressman Pat Meehan have also been fighting for Sarah.

A second family followed the Murnaghans' lead and also got placed on the adult organ list last week. Their son, Javier Acosta, is two months shy of his 12th birthday. He has already lost an older brother, who was 11, to cystic fibrosis.

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