Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) issued the following statement today after a meeting of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network's (OPTN) Executive Committee and its announcement that the OPTN Lung Review Board will conduct a year-long review of the under-12 policy. In the interim,decisions regarding children awaiting lung transplants can be appealed to a review board for a case-by-case assessment.
"Today's unanimous approval by the OPTN Board of a new, temporary policy acknowledges that children like Sarah should have every opportunity to fight for their lives and not be disadvantaged by rigid rules. The new policy gives greater flexibility for medical professionals to ensure children can access donor lungs in a scientifically based manner. It is a step in the right direction and I am grateful that the OPTN Board was willing to consider this issue. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Sarah and her family as she inspires us with her bravery and her own fight for life."
In a letter sent two weeks ago, Rep. Meehan urged Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to convene an emergency meeting of the OPTN's Executive Committee to address the under-12 transplant policy. Meehan has been an advocate for ten year old constituent Sarah Murnaghan who is suffering from cystic fibrosis and in urgent need of a life-saving lung transplant. Current policy mandated that Sarah be placed at the back of the line for an adult lung transplant despite her life-threatening condition and her doctors' opinion that she is capable of receiving an adult lung. On Wednesday, a federal judge directed Sec. Sebelius to suspend the policy for Sarah and consider her alongside adolescent and adult candidates for transplant.