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Pennsylvania girl has second lung transplant

Sarah Murnaghan’s parents had sued over donor lists.

AP/Murnaghan Family

Sarah Murnaghan’s parents had sued over donor lists.

PHILADELPHIA — A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who underwent a double-lung transplant amid a national debate about the organ allocation process has undergone a second transplant after the first failed and is now taking some breaths on her own, the girl’s parents said Friday.

Sarah Murnaghan’s mother said the first set of lungs failed just hours after a June 12 transplant at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Sarah was placed on machines. She was put back on a transplant list and got a second set of lungs June 15.

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‘‘We were told . . . that she was going to die,’’ the suburban Philadelphia girl’s mother, Janet Murnaghan, said at a news conference Friday in explaining why Sarah’s second transplant was not publicly disclosed. ‘‘We weren’t prepared to live out her dying in public.’’

Sarah initially received lungs from an adult donor after her parents sued about national rules that place children behind adolescents and adults on the list for adult lungs.

Janet Murnaghan said Sarah’s condition began to ‘‘spiral out of control’’ shortly after the first surgery. A second set of lungs was found and were transplanted though they were infected with pneumonia, making the surgery extra risky.

Sarah’s mother said the second transplant was a success and the girl was able to take a few breaths on her own. She was placed on a ventilator because of the partial paralysis of her diaphragm, a complication of surgery that does not let her lungs expand, her mother said.

She said Sarah is scheduled for surgery Monday to repair her diaphragm.

‘‘Her doctors continue to wean her from her ventilator, her last two chest tubes were removed today we are taking steps to prepare her for extubation again,’’ Janet Murnaghan said. ‘‘We’re not out of the woods, but Sarah’s health is trending in the right direction.’’

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