NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – A Pennsylvania girl whose need for new lungs sparked a national debate on how transplant recipients are prioritized returned home to her family Tuesday after six months in the hospital.
Sarah Murnaghan, who turned 11 this month, left The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and was carried into her family’s Newtown Square home, which was festooned with balloons and signs that welcomed her home and thanked the donors whose lungs she received after her parents sued to change national transplant policy.
Sarah’s looking forward to being a normal little kid, said her mother, Janet, who said her daughter once enjoyed soccer and skating. We’re looking forward to a nice long life: going to college, getting married and everything we dream about for our other kids.
Sarah received two sets of lungs this summer as she struggled with the effects of end-stage cystic fibrosis. She still has the disease, but it will not infiltrate her new lungs, which her parents said were working well.
Asked how she was feeling Tuesday, Sarah quietly answered so-so, as she briefly joined her parents and three younger siblings on her front step. Her back was hurting because of stress fractures caused by cystic fibrosis, her mother said.
Her release capped days of upbeat progress reports from the family on Facebook.
On Sunday, Murnaghan said her daughter was taken off oxygen, although she still gets support from a machine that helps her to breathe, and had started to walk with the aid of a walker, even venturing outside.
Sarah’s recovery is now focused on building her muscle strength so she no longer has to use a breathing tube that caused a bout of pneumonia. She was sedated for most of the month of June, when she was in critical need of a transplant.
Sarah’s first set of adult lungs failed after a June 12 transplant. A second set was transplanted three days later.