– The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – A 10-year-old girl whose efforts to qualify for an organ donation sparked debate over how organs are allocated was getting a double-lung transplant Wednesday after a match with an adult donor was made.

Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from severe cystic fibrosis, was receiving her new lungs Wednesday at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said family spokeswoman Maureen Garrity. Murnaghan’s relatives were “beyond excited” about the development but were “keeping in mind that someone had to lose a family member and they’re very aware of that and very appreciative,” Garrity said.

No other details about the donor are known, including whether the lungs came through the regular donor system or through public appeals.

Murnaghan’s health was deteriorating when a judge intervened last week, giving her a chance at the much larger list of organs from adult donors.

“Some people would look at this and say it’s evidence that if you get a PR campaign, a congressman and federal judge to pay attention, you’re going to have far greater access to a transplant, but I don’t think that’s true,” ethicist Arthur Caplan, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, said of the Murnaghans’ public stance.

The Newtown Square, Pa., family received word about the donor lungs Tuesday night, Garrity said.

Murnaghan’s mother, Janet, said in a Facebook post that the family was “overwhelmed with emotions” and thanked all her supporters.

During double-lung transplants, surgeons must open up the patient’s chest. Complications can include rejection of the new lung and infection.

Murnaghan’s family and the family of another cystic fibrosis patient at the same hospital challenged existing transplant policy that made children under 12 wait for pediatric lungs to become available or be offered lungs donated by adults only after adolescents and adults on the waiting list had been considered. They said pediatric lungs are rarely donated.

On June 5, federal Judge Michael Baylson in Philadelphia ruled that Murnaghan and 11-year-old Javier Acosta of New York City should be eligible for adult lungs.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network says 33 children under age 11 are on the waiting list for a lung transplant.

The network added Murnaghan to the adult waiting list after Baylson’s ruling. Her transplant came just two days before a hearing was scheduled on the family’s request for a broader injunction.

Critics warned there could be a down side to having judges intervene in the organ transplant system’s established procedures. Lung transplants are difficult procedures, and some say child patients tend to have more trouble with them than adults.