It was a big win for the family of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan when a federal judge ruled Wednesday she could be placed on the adult transplant list, as her parents say she only has weeks to live, battling cystic fibrosis while she hopes for a lung transplant.
Thursday, the same judge has ordered that a second child at a Philadelphia hospital — a New York City boy — be put on the adult waiting list for donated lungs too, even though neither he nor Murnaghan technically qualify for the list based on their age.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson involves 11-year-old Javier Acosta of the Bronx, who also has cystic fibrosis. His mother filed a lawsuit Thursday that says he will die soon unless he gets a lung transplant.
The decision comes a day after a national organ transplant network complied with Baylson’s unusual order to place a Murnaghan on the list. Children under 12 are currently matched with pediatric donors, which are rare, or wait at the end of the adult list.
According to CBS Local out of Philadelphia, the court filing said Acosta’s brother died while waiting for a lung transplant when he was the same age two years ago.
“When a judge steps in and says, ‘I don’t like these rules, I think they’re arbitrary,’ they better be very arbitrary or he’s undermining the authority of the whole system. Why wouldn’t anybody sue?” CBS News reported New York University Langone Medical Center bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan saying.
Medical ethicists question the judge’s intervention. But lawyer Stephen Harvey, who represents both families, feared that Javier and Sarah would die while the issue continued review.
For the last few weeks, Murnaghan’s parents had been fighting for their daughter be put on the waiting list for an adult transplant while she also remained on the pediatric list.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.