Sarah Murnaghan is expected to go home this week after undergoing two double lung transplants in June, a family spokeswoman told ABCNews.com.
Sarah, who’s battling cystic fibrosis, has been living at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since February. She was able to undergo the transplants because her parents successfully fought a rule that prevented her from qualifying for adult lungs.
“Things are going well here,” Sarah’s mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday. “Sarah is working all day at physical rehab, it’s exhausting but we are making great progress.”
For the first time in two and a half years, Sarah no longer needs supplemental oxygen, but she still uses a machine to help her breathe, according to family spokeswoman Tracy Simon. She can walk with a walker and is focused on rebuilding the muscles that weakened during the time she was immobile before and after surgery.
Sarah’s lung x-rays are the “best of her life,” Simon said. She has completely overcome the pneumonia she caught in one of her new lungs in July.
Janet Murnaghan started a Change.org petition around Memorial Day, calling attention to what would become known as the Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.
On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah. By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions, depending on the case.
Sarah received a double lung transplant on June 12, but her body rejected them. On June 15, she received a second lung transplant, and although her road to recovery has been rocky, these are the lungs she will return to her Newtown, Pa., home with as early as Tuesday.