Reported By: Britt L
In Atlanta, a mother claims that her son is condemned to a “death sentence” because doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta refuse to place her son on the heart transplant list.
Anthony Stokes, 15, only has six months to live due to an enlarged heart discovered last month at the children’s hospital.
Because of the urgency, Stokes needs the transplant immediately. However, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta claims that Anthony has not taken any of his prescribed medications. This automatically rules him out from being put on the transplant list.
Despite the hospital’s claims, civil rights groups and Stokes’ family suggest that Anthony’s “brushes with the law and low grades at school” are the reasons that he is being denied a heart, ultimately sending the dying boy home with no means of survival.
“He’s been given a death sentence because of a broad and vague excuse of noncompliance. There was nothing specific in that decision. Just noncompliance,” said Christine Young Brown who is with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Brown is also Anthony’s spokesperson in this unfortunate controversy.
Anthony was healthy until last month when during a routine check-up, doctors discovered that the young boy’s heart was enlarged.
“Every day is up and down. He’s ok one minute, the next time he’s not,” explained Anthony’s mother, Melencia Hamilton to CBS Atlanta.
Specialists at the hospital sent Hamilton a letter on August 7 which vaguely explained why he was being taken off of the donor list. He was no longer a transplant candidate “due to having a history of non-compliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for a heart transplant,” read the letter.
The letter also stated, “As we discussed today with Anthony’s mother, we will not place Anthony on the heart transplant waiting list at this time due to this decision.”
Every transplant list has specific criteria attached to it, including special requirements that have to be met by the potential recipient. However, family and friends of the dying teen believe that Anthony’s past behaviors could be the cause of his being denied a spot on the list.
While in the hospital room with Anthony, a family friend expressed his concerns with WSBTV.com .
“The non-compliance is fabricating because they don’t want to give him a heart,” said the friend. “This is unacceptable because he must lose his life because of a non-compliance.”
The hospital claimed that they were afraid Anthony would not follow the strict demands of his medications and the follow-up treatments that are needed for his transplant to be a complete success.
No one knows what evidence of “non-compliance” the hospital has to deny the young boy a heart.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta spokeswoman Patty Gregory issued a statement in attempts to refute any claims of mismanagement about the transplant list.
“The well-being of our patients is always our first priority. We are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient’s health care,” she said. “We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind.”