The 10-year-old girl whose family successfully fought a rule preventing her from qualifying for adult lungs has woken up nine days after receiving a lung transplant from an adult donor.
Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, Pa., was able to respond to yes and no questions on Friday. Her aunt Sharon Ruddock confirmed to ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia that even though Sarah is still on a ventilator she was able to communicate to her family by nodding and blinking.
On Wednesday she was moved off a heavy-duty breathing machine to a traditional ventilator.
Sarah was dying of cystic fibrosis when her family brought the Under 12 Rule, a little-known organ transplant policy, to national attention after arguing that it had been pushing Sarah to the bottom of the adult lung transplant waiting list.
The family won a court order to put Sarah on equal footing with adults on the transplant list and prompted an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network policy change.
On June 12 Sarah underwent a lung transplant with lungs from an adult donor.
"Sarah got THE CALL," her mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page. "She will be taken back to the O.R. in 30 minutes."
There have been no reported complications from the transplant although Sarah's mother Janet Murnaghan cautioned that her recovery would be "hard and long" for the 10-year-old.
"As you all know, Sarah was very, very sick going into transplant, therefore the road out is hard and long," her mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page. "We are focusing all of our attention on Sarah and as a result are silent."
Sarah was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that affects cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive fluid. Patients typically suffer so much lung damage that they often go into respiratory failure, which is why Sarah needs a lung transplant to survive.