A petition has seemingly gone nowhere. President Obama’s health secretary is offering no short-term help. So Sarah Murnaghan’s family is taking the next step to save their daughter: They’re hiring a law firm.
Sarah, 10, has cystic fibrosis, is lingering on a lung transplant waiting list because children under 10 aren’t allowed to take lungs from adult donors—and child donations happen rarely. Her family says the rule no longer makes medical sense.
Lawyers for 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has been denied a lung transplant because of a controversial federal policy, say Health and Human Services’ Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to review the policy — but not in time to save Sarah — is unconstitutional.
Law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP wrote a letter to Sebelius on Monday calling the policy “unfair, arbitrary and capricious” and saying that Sebelius’s failure to make an exceptionis is a violation of Sarah’s constitutional rights to “due process” and “equal protection,” according to a family statement.
Sarah’s father, Fran Murnaghan, of Newtown Square, Pa., told ABC News Sunday that Sebelius’ mandate for review of transplant policies would not deal with current cases in a timely manner, nor deal with what he characterized as an unequal system that discriminates against children younger than 12.
“Sarah is being left to die,” Murnaghan said. “Not only Sarah, but there are many other children in the same situation.”
“My child does not have years. My child has weeks,” Janet Murnaghan said.
At the same time, Sarah’s parents are appealing directly to the American public.
“A few evenings ago, she asked if she was going to die. We were holding her, and she was getting tired and wanted herbed, and she asked if she could go to bed. And, of course, we said, ‘Yes.’ But then she asked us, ‘If I go to sleep, will I wake up tomorrow?’”