Sen. Pat Toomey said his “thoughts and prayers” are with a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who is in surgery after her desperate need for an organ transplant set off a debate on Capitol Hill.
Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis, faced death within weeks if she had not obtained a new lung. But rules that limited the supply of adult lungs to those over 12 years old restricted her chances of obtaining a lung, since pediatric donations are rare.
Lawmakers pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to remove the age barrier immediately, but she feared the scientific ramifications and said intervention on her part could create a system where Washington officials select who lives and who dies.
Ultimately, a court order temporarily lifted the barrier to adult lungs for Sarah and an 11-year-old New York City boy.
Mr. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, expressed thanks on Wednesday after word spread that Sarah had acquired a donated lung.
“So our thoughts and prayers are with her, that this will be a successful surgery,” he said in remarks released to reporters. “She has needed this, and we’re so grateful to the donor family for making this possible.”
“Longer term,” he said, “we’ve got to continue to work on correcting a flawed policy that made it so difficult for Sarah to get to this point.”