PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – An 11-year-old Pennsylvania girl, whose parents filed a lawsuit challenging national transplant policies so she could receive two lung transplants, will be released from the hospital this week, a spokeswoman for her family said on Monday.
The girl, Sarah Murnaghan, underwent an operation earlier this summer to receive the transplants in a case that set off a national debate about child access to organ donations. She had earlier been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
A federal judge cleared the way for the operation in June after her parents sued to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing a policy that prevents children under 12 from receiving adult lung transplants.
The Murnaghan family’s spokeswoman Tracy Simon said that Sarah, who has been hospitalized for six months, will be released this week from the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
“Her new lungs are doing great,” Simon said.
Hospital officials were not immediately able to confirm plans to release Murnaghan.
Sarah had her first lung transplant on June 12, but complications forced a second transplant several days later.
Simon said Sarah was walking short distances with the help of a walker and that she no longer received oxygen through a vent, but still uses a machine to help her breathe.
Sarah also recovered from a pneumonia she caught from being intubated, the spokeswoman said.
Her recovery is now focused on helping Sarah rebuild the strength in her legs and arms as well as the muscles around her lungs, Simon added.
Sarah’s family is also working to arrange home care for her once she leaves the hospital, she added.
(Reporting by Dave Warner, writing by Kevin Gray; editing by Scott Malone, G Crosse)