A life-saving kidney transplant has been delayed in Atlanta because the patient’s father, the only donor match, failed to comply with his probation. The patient is just two years old. He cannot walk, is fed intravenously and depends on a dialysis machine.
He was supposed to receive a kidney on Oct. 3 before the family learned that his dad had been arrested again for possessing a weapon during the commission of attempted felonies.
AJ Burgess, who only weighs 25 pounds, was born a month too soon without a working kidney., and an organ transplant became more urgent a couple of months ago after he suffered a stroke. Surgeons at the Emory Hospital in Atlanta told his parents that the toddler now had to wait until January 2018 for his operation.
They said they would re-evaluate his father first to make sure his documentation meets all the requirements, though the patient’s mother says AJ might not survive until next year as his health worsens. She said he needed bladder surgery, according to CBS News.
Since 2011, his 26-year-old husband Anthony Dickerson has been in and out of jail on several misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge. While he was in prison for violating his probation on weapons charges, AJ’s father was tested and proved to be a 110 percent match for an organ donation.
“He made it his business to say, ‘Once I get out, I’m gonna promise to my son that he can get a kidney,” A.J.’s mother Carmellia said, as quoted by CBS News.
Once he was released, Dickerson was ready to donate a kidney to his son, but he returned to jail before the day of the surgery for violating his parole again for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies, as reported by WGCL-TV. He was arrested by authorities in Gwinnett County.
The hospital wrote in a letter to the couple that The Living Donor Transplant Team at Emory needed evidence of compliance from Dickerson’s parole officer for the next three months. The document emphasized that the father had to be on “good behavior” for three to four months before he can give his son the organ.
Emory Healthcare declined to reveal specific information about this case, but it said in a statement issued to WGCL-TV that policies regarding organ transplants are designed to maximize the likelihood of success for both the organ recipient and the living donor.
The hospital remarked that it could not share further information due to “privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality,” according to the statement.
On the other hand, the parents claim that the hospital should not punish AJ because of the mistakes of his father. Carmellia told WXIA-TV the hospital is acting as if the story was about Dickerson and emphasized that it was actually about their two-year-old son who desperately needed a kidney transplant.
The family has started a GoFundMe page to ask for donations to help cover medical costs and raise awareness of AJ’s situation. The couple hopes getting on the kidney transplant wait list might help the kid receive the organ sooner than 2018.
Source: CBS News