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Sen. Toomey Pushes For End of Over-12 Rule For Adult Lung Transplant Recipients

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- US senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) says it's time to change the blanket policy against transplanting an adult lung into a child.

This policy, with its potentially tragic consequences, has gained national attention thanks to the family and friends of Sarah Murnaghan, the Newtown Square, Pa. girl saddled with cystic fibrosis (see related stories).

Although a federal judge last week issued a ten-day waiver of that rule, Toomey says it needs to go, for good.

"So I'm going to continue to urge Secretary Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, who has jurisdiction over this program, to change this flawed policy so children will not be excluded simply because of their age."

Toomey isn't pushing for a particular new policy but says he's been told that the current lower age limit of 12 for adult lung transplants is arbitrary.   He says Sarah is sedated and on a ventilator at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and when asked about her condition, he said simply, "She needs a transplant soon."

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