Friday, June 7, 2013

Lung Donor System: How Kids May Slip Through Cracks

Here is a closeup view of the heart, lungs and diaphragm.


The case of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis in dire need of a lung transplant, has some people questioning the rules regarding how lungs are allocated to children.

Murnaghan, who has just weeks left to live according to her parents, was placed near the bottom of the waitlist to receive a lung from an adult donor because of her age. Her parents, arguing that the allocation rules were not fair to children, sued the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Katherine Sebelius. Today (June 6), a federal judge ruled that the age requirement be suspended for Murnaghan until June 16, although it remains to be seen if an organ will become available to her in that time.

While Murnaghan's case continues to play out, here is an overview of how the system for allocating available lung donor organs currently works:

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