GA toddler denied kidney transplant because father violated probation
ATLANTA, Georgia — A mother says an Atlanta hospital is unfairly endangering her 2-year-old son because of his father’s mistakes.
Carmellia Burgess told WGCL that her son, A.J., was born without kidneys and needs a transplant. The boy’s father, Anthony Dickerson, is a perfect match and wants to give this lifesaving gift to his son.
“That’s all I ever wanted was a son,” Dickerson told the television station. “And I finally got him, and he’s in this situation.”
The surgery had been planned for Oct. 3, but an Emory University Hospital official sent Burgess a letter saying it would be delayed until Dickerson could show that he has complied with the conditions of his parole for three months.
“They’re making this about Dad,” Burgess told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution . “It’s not about Dad. It’s about our son.”
Dickerson has repeatedly been in trouble with the law and was arrested last month for violating his probation, WGCL reported.
That didn’t initially seem to be an obstacle. A letter to the Gwinnett County jail from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program requested his temporary release.
“If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” the Sept. 28 letter says.
But then Burgess received a letter from the hospital saying the surgery would be delayed until Dickerson can provide documentation from his parole officer showing compliance for the next three months.
“We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the letter said.
Burgess was extremely upset by the hospital’s decision, saying it is endangering her son.
“He’s only 2,” she told WXIA. “He don’t deserve this. We’ve been waiting so long for this.”
Emory spokeswoman Janet Christenbury said privacy regulations bar her from providing specific information about the hospital’s patients. She also declined to speak more generally about how criminal history could affect an organ donor’s eligibility.
“Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” she said in an emailed statement. “Transplant decisions regarding donors are made based on many medical, social, and psychological factors.”
CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this story
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