Posted by Curt on 6 June, 2013 at 7:01 pm. 4 comments already!


Dan Calabrese:

Not that she’ll get credit for it, but when Sarah Palin warned of “death panels” resulting from the constructs of ObamaCare, this is exactly what she meant: Someone needs something or they’re going to die, and some government bureaucrat who values the systemic ramifications of the matter above all else, gets to decide what will happen.

In this case, DHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made her decision: She would not intervene to save the life of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, a cystic fibrosis patient from Pennsylvania. Sarah is, as I write this, weeks away from death if she doesn’t get a lung transplant. That, you’d think, would serve as a call to action for anyone who might be able to make the transplant happen. But not Kathleen Sebelius, because adults are also waiting for lungs, and the rules say no one under 12 can be prioritized over adults.

Sebelius claimed rules are rules and she had no authority to intervene, despite a letter from several members of Congress asserting that she absolutely does (including two from Pennsylvania). Sebelius did trouble herself to “order a policy review,” but she refused to take action to save Sarah’s life.

Fortunately, District Court Judge Michael Baylson issued a restraining order prohibiting Sebelius from applying the policy that will block Sarah from getting the lung transplant. CNN reports:

Janet Murnaghan, Sarah’s mother, said the family is “thrilled … literally jumping for joy.”

In a written statement, the family added, “We are experiencing many emotions — relief, happiness, gratitude and, for the first time in months, hope.”

Where someone is placed on the adult lung transplant list depends on several factors — blood type, distance from donor to potential recipient, and a lung allocation score. The score is derived from medical factors like test results and the patient’s diagnosis.

Sarah’s parents said her score is a 78. Anything above 60 is considered a high score, according to reports published on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network website.

The Murnaghans had argued that since the number of children’s lungs available through organ donation programs is so small, Sarah — and other pediatric patients like her — should be added to the list of people waiting for adult lungs, prioritized by severity of their illnesses.

Now let’s be clear about exactly what happened here. A policy was put in place by the federal government that said certain people would take priority over others for transplants. When a person proved to be in desperate need of such a transplant – a matter of life and death – a cabinet-level government official refused to intervene, citing the rules, citing limits on her own authority and saying it would take too long at any rate to change the policy.

Lungs are available. A 10-year-old girl needs one or she will die. But a government policy says she can’t have one and no one will do anything to set aside or get around the policy so a 10-year-old girl will not die. Or at least no one would until Judge Baylson came along, thank God.

This is the death panel.

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