The rule has always been that adult lungs are not available for anyone under the age of 12. A judge changed the rule, and allowed Sarah, who has cystic fibrosis, to receive adult lungs. The success rate has not been acceptable, which is one of the reasons the rule was applied.
Sarah received her first pair of lungs on June 12th. The lungs failed just hours later. She developed ‘Aspiration Pneumonia.’ This complication is defined as: “Bronchopneumonia that develops due to the entrance of foreign materials into the bronchial tree, usually oral or gastric contents (including food, saliva, or nasal secretions).”
She received a second pair of lungs on June 15th. The operation appeared to be successful. After the lungs worked for just a few minutes, Sarah was placed back on a ventilator. Her diaphragm became paralyzed, a complication of the surgery.
Everyone is hoping and praying for the best for Sarah. But we must ask the question. Should those in the legal profession be allowed to override medical policy, established through discussion and case study? It is almost a question of ‘fact’ vs. ‘fiction,’ or ‘dreams’ vs. ‘reality.’
Sarah’s parents had every right, and definitely the responsibility, to do everything within their power to save the life of their 10 year old daughter. My suggestion is that once again a sitting federal judge played God.
Saving a human life is a priceless act. In Sarah’s case, was the risk worth it?
Lung transplants have a limited success rate. Transplanting adult lungs into minors have an even lower success rate. If Sarah doesn’t survive, questions must be asked. First, will doctor’s attempt a third operation? If they do, can Sarah’s fragile body survive a third major surgery?
Secondly, whose adult lives did not get a chance to be saved by giving lungs to Sarah instead of to them? And the final damning question; were two pairs of lungs wasted?
We will all continue to cheer for Sarah and her parents. But there must be a separation between Medical Science and the un-researched, and unsubstantiated decisions of those in the legal profession.
Sarah Murnaghan is lying in a hospital, hooked up to a ventilator, and has pneumonia in her right, transplanted, lung.
Alfred James reporting