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Sarah Murnaghan Tops PA Good News in 2013

This 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl's inspiring journey to a double-lung transplant tops the good news in 2013.

Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square is one of Patch's Top Good News stories of 2013. (Credit: Murnaghan Family)
Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square is one of Patch's Top Good News stories of 2013. (Credit: Murnaghan Family)
By Courtney Elko

The nation met Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square in the summer of 2013, and her story got many talking. 

Murnaghan, than 10 years old, had end-stage Cystic Fibrosis and had been on the pediatric lung transplant list for 18 months as of May 2013. With only weeks to live, her parents went public asking that their daughter be placed on the adult transplant list. 

Murnaghan was on both the adult and pediatric lung transplant list but under organ transplant policy, she would only receive adult donor lungs after all adult candidates, regardless of how sick they were, had the opportunity to accept them. If Sarah had been 12 years old, she would immediately have been eligible for the next available lungs from an adult donor.

Sarah's parents went to federal court and after much debate, the 10-year-old was placed on the adult organ donation list in June, after a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order and told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to direct the transplant network to cease application of the "Under 12 Rule" as it applies to Sarah.

Later that month, Sarah received her transplant at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It was later revealed that Murnaghan's first transplant failed hours after the surgery and she actually received a second transplant days later, a surgery that was not immediately revealed to the public. 

"We weren't prepared to live out her dying in public," Janet Murnaghan, Sarah's mother, explained in a press conference as to why the second transplant was not publicly revealed.

Sarah celebrated her 11th birthday in August and was released from the hospital on Aug. 27, 2013. 

Murnaghan, who still has Cystic Fibrosis but it is not expected to impair her new lungs, continues to recover and gain strength every day and the temporary order for other children to receive adult donor lungs will remain in effect until the end of June 2014, according to NBCPhiladelphia.com

Sarah Murnaghan's story is one of Patch's Top Good News stories of 2013. 

Read more from Sarah's journey below.

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