With Sebelius Refusal, CHOP Patient’s Lung Transplant Becomes a Political Battle
Saying that three other children at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are just as sick, Kathleen Sebelius reiterated Tuesday that she would not personally intervene to help a local 10-year-old whose desperate family wants organ-allocation rules changed to give her a better shot at a lung transplant.
A spokesman for the secretary of Health and Human Services said Sebelius was at a budget hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill when Pennsylvania lawmakers asked about Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square. Several area politicians have urged Sebelius to help the girl, who has been waiting on the transplant list for 18 months.
Children’s has declined to discuss the case. The Murnaghan family wants it to be easier for children Sarah’s age to receive adult lungs. Currently, such children get top priority for lungs from donors under the age of 12 but wait behind adults and adolescents for adult lungs, which must be cut down for smaller bodies.
Both Gov. Corbett and Sen. Bob Casey have written letters on Sarah’s behalf, urging Sebelius, who oversees the network, to deliver a onetime exception to the rule on the girl’s behalf.
“You have the authority to bring together a meeting of the board or its executive committee to effectuate changes necessary to close this unfair loophole and give Sarah and others like her a chance at life,” Corbett said in a letter to Sebelius
Republicans’ latest attack on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius involves not the health care law, but a child dying of cystic fibrosis.
GOP members are pressuring the secretary to make Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old who has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for three months with end-stage disease, eligible to receive a transplant of adult lungs. Her family has gone very public in seeking an exemption because few pediatric lungs become available and the child is running out of time.
Republicans — from Pennsylvania and other states — insist she intervene. “It simply takes your signature,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). “A study will take over a year — this young lady will be dead.”