Death Panel a la Sebelius… “Some people live. Some people die.”

THITW: Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, says she doesn’t want to intervene in transplant decisions about a dying Pennsylvania girl when other children are just as sick.

10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan has been hospitalized for three months with end-stage cystic fibrosis.

Sebelius Says She Can’t Intervene on Behalf of Dying Pa. Girl

Sarah Murnaghan (Photo:

Doctors say the girl needs an adult lung transplant (because pediatric lungs are so rare). They are confident that she would survive the procedure, but they say she has only three to five weeks to live.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that current federal regulations prohibit doctors from performing the expedited procedure. So Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) on Tuesday went directly to the HHS Secretary herself.

“Please, suspend the rules until we look at this policy,” Rep. Barletta begged Sebelius during a House hearing.

“I would suggest, sir, that, again, this is an incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies,” she replied.

“The medical evidence and the transplant doctors who are making the rule — and have had the rule in place since 2005 making a delineation between pediatric and adult lungs, because lungs are different than other organs — that it’s based on the survivability [chances],” she added.

The Pennsylvania congressman responded by pointing out that the girl only has three to five weeks to live.

Sebelius would only say that there are currently 40 other people in Pennsylvania who are on the “highest acuity list” for lung transplants, adding that medical experts should make those decisions.

But relatives of young Sarah say they want the policy changed for all children awaiting a lung transplant, not just Sarah.

Sarah’s aunt Sharon Ruddock says older children should be eligible for adult lungs because so few pediatric lungs are available.

She says that would add just 20 children to the 1,600 people on the adult waiting list.

Sebelius has called for a review of transplant policies, but the Murnaghans says Sarah doesn’t have time for that.

Update: Court Orders Sebelius to Suspend Death Panel – Place Dying 10 Year-Old Girl on Transplant List

The Politico reported:

A federal judge has ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old in Pennsylvania dying of cystic fibrosis, to be moved to the adult lung transplant list. Normally federal policy prevents children younger than 12 from receiving donated adult lungs, but Sebelius has been under pressure to change the policy.

The parents of the girl asked the judge on Wednesday to order Sebelius to alter organ donation rules so that the dying child has a better chance of receiving new lungs. They say she is running out of time. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson granted a temporary restraining order to exempt Murnaghan from the current policy, and there will be a hearing on June 14.

Sebelius has come under intense pressure in this case, which is receiving media and online attention. Some medical ethicists, however, say that while the organ allocation policy may well need to be reviewed and changed, they worry about making case-by-case decisions based in part on emotional media attention.

Video: Dr. Manny: Sebelius hiding behind bureaucratic rules

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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6 Responses to Death Panel a la Sebelius… “Some people live. Some people die.”

  1. Pingback: Federal Judge Removes 10 Year-Old Girl From Sebilius’ Death Panel Sentence | YouViewed/Editorial

  2. Lori West says:

    Doctors should abandon these rules and care for their patients anyway.

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Jo Ann Parker says:

    Her position is one of playing God. I thought there were to be a panel not just one individual making decisions. From what I read last year of the healthcare act, these panels were to consist of doctors or medical people with each state having their own select panels.

  4. Of course, the problem is that Sebelius is right — whatever choice she makes, someone lives and someone dies. Given the judge’s decision, that someone will be an adolescent or an adult rather than a 10-year-old.

    The thing is, these rules were established precisely because of the shortage of organs and the need to get personal appeals out of the process. The maneuverings by this child’s family, while understandable, undercut the objectivity of the process and now allows for favoritism.

  5. Pingback: RUSH: Palin Was Right – There Are Indeed Death Panels In ObamaCare (audio) | askmarion

  6. Pingback: 1 in 3 Seniors Dies with Alzheimer’s or Other Dementia | askmarion

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