ATLANTA — An Atlanta, Georgia area man was denied the chance to save his own son’s life with a kidney transplant after the hospital found out the man violated his probation, according to local media reports. The story has since reached an international media platform and after the 2-year-old was rushed to an emergency, it was revealed that complete strangers had offered their own kidneys to help the man’s son, 2-year-old A.J. Burgess.
The boy was rushed to the emergency room Sunday morning, according to the local Atlanta area newspaper, Atlanta Journal Constitution. He had a peritonitis infection that required immediate treatment, according to a local NBC News affilate, WBIR. The 2-year-old Burgess was born without kidneys, his mother told local media, and his biological father, Anthony Dickerson, is a perfect match for the transplant. However, due to the hospital’s protocol, the process was delayed once the hospital found out Dickerson had violated his probation, according to the reports.
Dickerson’s legal problems included a theft and forgery charges. He was arrested September 28 for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies, but police and officials tried to get him released from jail just in time for the transplant procedure. He was released October 2. The surgery was scheduled for October 3. Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Volkadav told the press the court personnel and District Attorney’s Office made arrangements for early release for Dickerson to make surgery work out, but Emory Hospital sent the Burgess family a letter containing disappointing news.
Emory hospital wanted the family to provide evidence that Dickerson complied with his parole for three months. Meanwhile an Emory spokesperson claimed the hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care to its patients. Janet Christenbury stated that the hospital’s guidelines were designed to maximize the chance of success for organ transplant recipients and minimize risks for the donors. She said that privacy regulations and patient confidentiality prevented her from sharing specific information about patients, according to the AJC report.
The family has detailed their struggle with local media reports and many have donated to fundraising campaigns online for the family to help them raise the money for the procedure. Other donors have since stepped up to the plate, offering their kidneys.
According to reporting from UK-based International Business Times, the situation with A.J. is to be re-evaluated after the new year. The family would have to wait for the hospital to confirm three to four months of Dickerson’s good behavior before they could proceed with the operation, but the family fears that could be too long to save their child’s life. Mawuli Davis is the family’s attorney. He released a statement to the media, including IBT, that said the family is asking for people to pray for their baby and that his spirit is strong but body weakening with time.
The family is reaching out to the public for help, asking for willing donors to take the biological father’s place for a transplant.