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10-year-old lung transplant recipient contracts pneumonia in right lung

Sarah and Janet Murnaghan 6_28.jpg

Sarah Murnaghan (R) with her mother, Janet (L), on June 28, 2103, one week after her second surgery. (The Murnaghan Family)

Sarah Murnaghan, the 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who received a new pair of lungs last month after challenging organ donation guidelines, has contracted pneumonia in her right lung.

According to a Facebook post from Sarah's mother, Janet Murnaghan, doctors believe that her pneumonia was caused by aspirations from Sarah's stomach. While this is a setback for Sarah’s recovery process, Janet said her daughter’s condition is becoming more stable.  Sarah has been battling cystic fibrosis and has been hospitalized for the past four months.

Janet posted the following message on her Facebook page Monday afternoon:

"Sarah has developed pneumonia in her right lung. They believe its caused by aspirations from her belly. Yesterday was tough. Today she is more stable, but this is definitely a large set back. Thank you for the love and prayers. We have an amazing team of doctors who go above and beyond but also walk this road with us in such a kind and compassionate way. Thankful to God for this day!"

Last week the Murnaghans revealed that Sarah underwent a second lung transplant just three days after her initial transplant failed, due to a complication called primary graft failure (PGF), one of the leading causes of death in the first 30 days after a transplant procedure.

However, the second set of lungs Sarah received were considered high-risk, because they had been previously  infected with pneumonia.

Prior to Sarah’s operation, the Murnaghans had been in the midst of a prominent legal battle over the established rules for organ donation, after filing a lawsuit to have the guidelines changed to help save their daughter's life.  Under the current guidelines for organ donation, children under the age of 12 must wait for pediatric lungs to become available, and adult lungs cannot be offered to children under 12 until they are offered to adults and adolescents first.  

The Murnaghans argued the rule keeping Sarah off the list was "discriminatory."

A federal court judge granted a temporary order on June 5 that allowed Sarah to join an adult organ transplant list.