Murnaghan v. United States Department of Health & Human Services
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
2013 WL 3363500 (2013)
Sarah Murnaghan (plaintiff) was a 10-year-old girl who was severely ill with cystic fibrosis and hoped to receive a lung transplant to save her life. Sarah was in the intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (the hospital), waiting for a lung transplant from an organ donation allocated by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (the network). The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA) required the network to allocate donated organs equitably, but the network’s Policy 3.7 put children under 12 years old at the back of the line for lungs donated by adults regardless of medical urgency. Under the policy, any adult or adolescent on the transplant list with any disease-severity level had priority over every child on the transplant list who was under 12 years old. The network believed that it did not have enough data to determine whether its lung-allocation-score system would work for children under 12 years old. However, there was evidence that adult lungs could be transplanted to children under 12 years old, and data showed that children waiting on the network’s list for lung transplants were dying at a much higher rate than adults on the waiting list. Sarah’s parents, Janet and Francis Murnaghan (plaintiffs) brought an action against the secretary of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (the secretary) (defendant), seeking judicial review of the secretary’s decision to continue application of the network’s inequitable Policy 3.7 to children under 12 years old. Janet and Francis requested that the court enter an emergency temporary restraining order to allow Sarah to be considered immediately by the network for lung donation and transplantation while the court considered the matter more fully.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Baylson, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 726,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 726,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,700 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.