Vigil planned outside hospital for boy denied kidney transplant from father

Vigil planned outside hospital for boy denied kidney transplant from father

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Family photo
Anthony Dickerson holds his son, Anthony Jr., in a photo with the child's mother Carmella Burgess.
  • Story Highlights
  • A willing kidney donor can not schedule surgery for his son.
  • A.J. Burgess was rushed to the emergency room Sunday.
  • Anthony Dickerson was arrested while on probation and the surgery was canceled. 

A 2-year-old Gwinnett County boy who needs a kidney was rushed to an emergency room with an abdominal infection Sunday morning, a family attorney says.

A.J. Burgess was born without both his kidneys, his mother, Carmellia Burgess, said in a fundraising campaign.

“He has been fighting for his life since the day he came into this world,” she shared.

But the problem isn’t a lack of an available donor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Anthony Dickerson, A.J.’s dad, is a perfect match and a willing donor.

The problem is that hospital protocol pushed back the surgery after Dickerson violated his probation.

Dickerson, who has a lengthy history of theft and forgery charges, was arrested Sept. 28 on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies, police said.

Despite the arrest, law enforcement officials worked to release Dickerson from jail in time for the scheduled surgery.

“Our staff worked diligently with court personnel and the District Attorney’s Office to make arrangements for Mr. (Anthony) Dickerson’s early release so that he could follow through on his scheduled kidney donation for his young son, AJ,” Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Volkodav previously told the AJC. 

Dickerson was released from jail Oct. 2, in time for his surgery set for Oct. 3.

But, according to a letter Emory Hospital sent to the boy’s mother, the possibility of a rescheduled surgery depends on whether Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months.

Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. 

“Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.”

An attorney for the family, Mawuli Davis, told the AJC the family has received support and prayers from Congressman John Lewis and Hank Johnson. 

A vigil is planned at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

The hospital is located at 1405 Clifton Road in northeast Atlanta.

“His parents are at his bedside and asking for prayers and support,” Davis said. “They remain hopeful that Emory Hospital will perform the transplant and help save their son’s life.”

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