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Mother says Pennsylvania girl's lung transplant a success

A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis who only became eligible for an adult organ transplant because of a federal judge's order is out of surgery after a double-lung transplant on Wednesday and doing well, her mother said. (Flicker.com)
A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis who only became eligible for an adult organ transplant because of a federal judge's order is out of surgery after a double-lung transplant on Wednesday and doing well, her mother said. (Flicker.com)

(Reuters) - A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis who only became eligible for an adult organ transplant because of a federal judge's order is out of surgery after a double-lung transplant on Wednesday and doing well, her mother said.

Janet Murnaghan wrote on Facebook that her daughter Sarah Murnaghan was recovering in the intensive care unit after the six-hour procedure that began at 11 a.m. local time at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"Her doctors are very pleased with both her progress during the procedure and her prognosis for recovery," Murnaghan said in the posting on Wednesday night.

Surgeons had no challenges resizing and transplanting the adult donor lungs, Murnaghan said, adding that the "surgery went smoothly and Sarah did extremely well."

The girl's family, who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown Square, sued to prevent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing a policy that prevents children under age 12 from getting adult lung transplants, even if they are extremely ill.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson granted the family a 10-day temporary restraining order on June 5.

No details were released about the identity of the donor or circumstances of the organ donation. A spokeswoman for Children's Hospital said the hospital was not releasing any details in order to protect patient privacy.

Murnaghan said that while the family was "elated" that the day of the transplant had come, it also knew "our good news is another family's tragedy. That family made the decision to give Sarah the gift of life - and they are the true heroes today."

U.S. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who has championed the girl's cause, said in a statement earlier in the day that he was deeply grateful to the unidentified organ donor and his or her family.

"Now that a suitable donor has been found, a prayer would help, too - a prayer Sarah's body accepts the new organ the way doctors believe it can," he said.

(Additional reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Peter Cooney)

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