According to ABC News, Sarah Murnaghan experienced another major setback yesterday when doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia in one of her newly transplanted lungs. They believe it developed after Sarah breathed in her stomach contents.
“Yesterday was tough,” Sarah’s mother, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on her Facebook page. “Today she is more stable, but this is definitely a large set back.”
Sarah had a particularly hard day on Sunday, but she became more stable on Monday after she began to respond to antibiotics; however, she is still requiring breathing support from a ventilator.
As of yesterday morning, she was still struggling.
“It’s been an excruciating day,” Janet wrote on Facebook. “We extubated Sarah and her body could not handle the reduced support. It was impossibly painful watching her struggle to breath and panic. She was sedated and re-intubated. I have cried quite a bit, I just wish everything wasn’t so ridiculously hard for her. Her doctors assure us that this does not change her long-term out come but just means she needs more time to regain her strength. Thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses at CHOP, who always keep my sweet Sarah safe! One day Sarah will take that first glorious breath and we will celebrate!”
Thankfully, Sarah has inherited her mother’s fighting spirit. She has already managed to overcome several significant setbacks in her fight to beat the cystic fibrosis that is threatening her life. First, her parents successfully fought a rule preventing her from qualifying for adult lungs, enabling her to receive a new set of lungs on June 12. Unfortunately, these lungs failed almost immediately and she was able to secure yet another set of adult lungs by June 15, even though these lungs were infected with pneumonia. She had the option to turn down this second pair to wait for a better set, but her parents believed she was out of options at that point.
“They were Sarah’s best and only hope,” the Murnaghans wrote in their June 28 statement. “The second transplant operation was truly a success.”
Sarah then had to undergo diaphragm surgery because her diaphragm was partially paralyzed during the two transplants, making it difficult for her to breathe on her own. This surgery was a success.
Now she’s struggling to overcome pneumonia.
In spite of these setbacks, the prognosis for Sarah is quite good.
Dr. Frank D’Ovidio, surgical director of the Lung Transplant Program at Columbia University Medical Center, told Fox News’ Dr. Marc Siegel that “the long-term prognosis using parts of adult lungs [with immuno-suppression] in children is excellent.”
Dr. D’Ovidio pointed out that “of all the end-stage lung diseases, cystic fibrosis has the best survival for lung transplant.”
The survival after one year is close to 90 percent, and 75 percent after five years.
Once the lungs have been transplanted, cystic fibrosis patients do quite well, but must be watched for any signs of infection or rejection.
Prayer has brought Sarah a long way; now all we need to do is pray her through to the end of this long ordeal and see her off and running into the new life she fought for so desperately.
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