Judge Grants Second Child a Greater Chance at Organ Transplant

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — One day after a federal judge ordered special consideration for one dying girl, another child’s chances have been improved.

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan could be placed on the adult waiting list for a lung transplant. At a Congressional hearing about the situation involving Murnaghan earlier in the week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled by Republicans as to why she refused to help in the dying girl’s case. 

On Thursday, the parents of another child at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 11-year-old Javier Acosta of New York City, asked for the same consideration. According to attorneys representing both patients, the judge granted the Acostas’ request for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to place Javier on the adult waiting list.

Prior to the judge’s rulings, the “under 12 rule” said that Sarah and Javier could not be considered for adult lungs until the organs had been offered to all the region’s adults on the wait list, even those wait-listed adults whose condition was not as dire.

Like Sarah, Javier has cystic fibrosis and will die without a donated set of lungs. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Javier’s brother, Jovan, died two years ago of cystic fibrosis at age 11. Jovan was waiting for a lung and liver transplant.

There are 11 children under age 12 nationwide who are considered “priority one” for lung or heart/lung transplants. Nine are currently considered “priority two,” according to OPTN data.  

Javier would turn 12 in August, but is unlikely to live that long without a transplant, according to Thursday’s complaint.

According to the court order, both Sarah and Javier have been granted the same temporary lift of age policy that will remain in effect unless the court rules otherwise at a preliminary injection hearing on June 14.  Until then, neither child is guaranteed a transplant, but both will be eligible for adult lungs in addition to being on the pediatric waitlist.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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