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Casey calls on organ donors

| Friday, June 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey plans to work on ways to encourage organ donation after a federal judge's decision that allows a 10-year-old girl to seek a life-saving lung transplant from an adult donor.

“Over the next few weeks, he's examining what the federal government is doing, the private sector and nonprofits, and see if there are ways to improve that,” said John Rizzo, press secretary for the Scranton Democrat.

Rizzo said the senator is responding to the needs of his constituent, Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, who has spent more than 100 days at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia awaiting a lung transplant. Under current organ transplant rules, children younger than 12 must wait for the donation of an organ from another child.

Rizzo said Casey's website will promote organ donation. There are 118,295 people waiting for an organ in the United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, more than 8,000 are from Pennsylvania.

The agency estimates that 18 Americans die every day waiting for an organ and that one donor can save as many as eight lives.

Rizzo said the senator was pursuing the cause from a public policy standpoint but acknowledged his personal interest. The senator's father, the late Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr., received a heart-liver transplant in 1993 and lived seven more years before his death.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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