Sarah Murnaghan goes home from hospital after 2 lung transplants

Published: 4:27 AM EST Dec 24, 2013   Updated: 7:52 PM EDT Aug 27, 2013
Sarah Murnaghan

Sarah Murnaghan waved to her siblings as she returned home for the first time in six months while her parents readied for a recovery effort that will include four days of physical therapy a week.

Janet and Fran Murnaghan said Tuesday their efforts to get lungs for their daughter is proof that parents should always agitate and advocate for their children, no matter the obstacles.

Sarah also waved to reporters from the front door. The cystic fibrosis patient sparked a national debate this summer when her parents sued to force a change in how organ transplants are decided.

The 11-year-old received two transplants after a federal judge intervened, forcing the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network -- the private nonprofit group that manages U.S. organ allocation -- to add Sarah to the adult list.

Janet Murnaghan said in a Facebook post late Monday that she and her daughter had "cried tears of joy."

"We entered CHOP on Feb. 19, more than six months ago. I never could have imagined the journey that lay in front of us," Murnaghan wrote in the post, thanking God, Sarah's donors and all those who supported the family. She said she plans to speak with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Her release capped days of upbeat progress reports from the family.

On Sunday, Murnaghan said her daughter was taken off oxygen, although she still gets support from a machine that helps her to breathe, and had started to walk with the aid of a walker, even venturing outside.

Family spokeswoman Tracy Simon said Sarah's recovery is now focused on building her muscle strength so she no longer has to use a breathing tube. She said Sarah recovered from a case of pneumonia that stemmed from the tube.

Sarah's first set of adult lungs failed after a June 12 transplant. A second set was transplanted three days later.