Girl who received lung transplants is off oxygen, on walker, mom says

Sarah Murnaghan hasn't been able to leave Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for three months due to worsening conditions from cystic fibrosis. Her family is appealing for a direct lung donor.

Sarah Murnaghan, the Newtown Square girl who underwent a double lung transplant after her family successfully challenged national transplant regulations, no longer needs supplemental oxygen.

Sarah, who turned 11 this month (aug), also is now able to walk with a walker, though she needs a wheelchair for long distances, her mother, Janet Murnaghan, said Sunday via text message.

Sarah stopped receiving supplemental oxygen on Saturday, though for the time being she still breathes through a tube in her trachea — with the aid of a machine that maintains positive airway pressure, similar to what is used for sleep apnea.

“We are thrilled,” Janet Murnaghan said.

Sarah received a set of adult lungs on June 12. After they failed, she received a second set three days later.

Previously, national rules stated that adult donor lungs must be offered to all wait-listed adults before being used in a child.

A federal judge intervened, allowing Sarah’s transplants to proceed. Subsequently, the national panel that oversees lung transplants enacted a temporary change in the rules, allowing children to receive adult lungs on a case-by-case basis, depending on need.

Janet Murnaghan said her daughter’s prognosis is good, though she has a long stretch of physical rehabilitation in front of her.

Contact Tom Avril at 215-854-2430 or