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Top health official refuses to intervene in case of dying Pennsylvania girl

Posted: 10:25 AM, Jun 05, 2013
Updated: 2013-06-05 10:25:14-04

WASHINGTON (PIX11) — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, says she cannot step into help a dying Pennsylvania girl in need of a lung transplant.

The girl, 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan has end-stage cystic fibrosis. She has been waiting 18 months for new lungs.

Her parents want the government to allow her to get an adult lung, however federal rules require children to be at least 12 to qualify.

Sebelius was urged to take action while speaking before a congressional committee.

“I’m begging you,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) told Sebelius at a House hearing Tuesday, asking her to suspend the rules on transplants until they can be revisted. “Sarah has three to five weeks to live. Time is running out.”

“I can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies,” she responded, not offering more outside sympathy for the family.

Sebelius says the decision should be made by medical experts. She has previously told Sara’s family that she doesn’t have the authority to intervene.