Judge Overrules HHS' Sebelius in Favor of Girl Needing Life-Saving Transplant

By:  Dave Bohon
06/07/2013
       
Judge Overrules HHS' Sebelius in Favor of Girl Needing Life-Saving Transplant

A federal judge has overruled the refusal of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to intervene on behalf of a ten-year-old girl in need of a life-saving transplant.

The future of healthcare under a federal bureaucracy was on display in Pennsylvania June 4 as a federal judge sidestepped the refusal of Kathleen Sebelius, head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to intervene on behalf of a ten-year-old girl in need of a life-saving transplant.

As reported by TheBlaze.com, Sebelius had refused to intervene to ease the federal rules that blocked Sarah Murnaghan from being placed on a donor list for an adult lung. The girl suffers from cystic fibrosis and has only a few weeks to live without the surgery. But pediatric lungs are rare, and a federal rule prohibits her from being considered for an adult donor lung until she reaches the age of twelve.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the girl's parents, Janet and Fran Murnaghan, Judge Michael Baylson granted a ten-day temporary restraining order against HHS, allowing Sarah to be placed on a list for an adult lung.

Hours before the ruling, during a House hearing on behalf of the little girl, U.S. Representative Lou Barletta (R-Penn.) had pleaded for Sebelius to intervene. “Please, suspend the rules until we look at this policy,” Barletta asked Sebelius, who had the authority to overrule the ban and place the girl on the list.

Instead the federal bureaucrat offered excuses as to why she could not help. “I would suggest, sir, that … this is an incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies,” Sebelius told Barletta. “The medical evidence and the transplant doctors who are making the rule — and have had the rule in place since 2005 making a delineation between pediatric and adult lungs, because lungs are different that other organs — that it’s based on the survivability [chances].”

Barletta pointed out that medical professionals have said Murnaghan could survive an adult lung transplant, and, even if the surgery is risky, without it she only has three to five weeks to live.

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