(NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.) — Sarah Murnaghan is home after undergoing two double lung transplants in June, a family spokeswoman told ABC News.
Sarah, who’s battling cystic fibrosis, arrived home Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. after a six-month stay at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She was able to undergo the transplants because her parents successfully fought a rule that prevented her from qualifying for adult lungs.
“I am so thankful to GOD, Sarah’s donors, and the hundreds of thousands of you who stood beside us and fought for Sarah,” Sarah’s mom, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on Facebook on Monday night. “We entered CHOP on Feb 19, more than six months ago. I never could have imagined the journey that lay in front of us. If you are struggling with something bigger than you, I can say two things for sure; God is GREAT and so is the human spirit. There are so many beautiful people in the world! Thank you!!!!”
For the first time in two-and-a-half years, Sarah no longer needs supplemental oxygen but she still uses a machine to help her breathe, according to family spokeswoman Tracy Simon. She can walk with a walker and is focused on rebuilding the muscles that weakened during the time she was immobile before and after surgery.
Sarah’s lung X-rays are the “best of her life,” Simon said. She has completely overcome the pneumonia she caught in one of her new lungs in July.
Janet Murnaghan started a Change.org petition around Memorial Day, calling attention to what would become known as the Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.
On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah. By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions, depending on the case.
Sarah received a double lung transplant on June 12, but her body rejected them. On June 15, she received a second lung transplant.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Faith Heaton Jolley, KSL.com
Sarah Stewart, KFOR
Judson Jones, CNN
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News