PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In a contentious exchange with Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lou Barletta, the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged that 10-year-old transplant patient Sarah Murnaghan’s transplant request (who was denied for her transplant because she was too young) is an “incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies.”

On Tuesday, WPHT’s Gary R’nel spoke with Congressman Lou Barletta, who is calling for a rebuff of the law so that Sarah might be able to receive the transplant.

CBSPhilly and CBS3 also did a report on the young girl (see previous story).

“I believe Sarah is being discriminated against because of her age, very simply, I think that’s the best way to say it, right to the point,” said Barletta.

“Sarah ranks first at the top of the list in the pediatric list, and if she were 12-years-old, she would also be at the top of the adult list.  She is being denied that opportunity because of her age,” said Barletta.

R’nel asked Barletta about Sebelius’ comments.

“It was beyond me.  It was totally beyond me.  And Sarah’s parents are not asking for special treatment and I pointed that out.  She’s not asking for special treatment, she’s asking for equitable treatment,” said Barletta.

Barletta later said, “Where is the common sense in this?  And all we ask is for equitable treatment for all people based on the severity of the illness.”

R’nel asked what could be done.

“Call the White House, call HHS, also plead for any private donors, it’s a shot in the dark, but we need to do anything possible because time is running out,” said Barletta.

To listen to the full WPHT interview, click here.

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