Cops worked to release jailed father for kidney donation to son

Anthony Dickerson holds his son, Anthony Jr., in a photo with the child's mother, Carmellia Burgess.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Anthony Dickerson holds his son, Anthony Jr., in a photo with the child's mother, Carmellia Burgess.

Two weeks after a Gwinnett County man was told his recent arrest would push back his kidney donation for his 2-year-old son until next year, law enforcement officials are saying they had nothing to do with the decision to delay the surgery.

Already on probation due to a lengthy history of theft and forgery charges, Anthony Dickerson was arrested again 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.

But according to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, Dickerson’s recent arrest and criminal history aren’t what stalled Emory University Hospital’s surgery plan for his son Anthony Jr.

“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 said.

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

A judge even reduced Dickerson’s total bonds from $2,600 to $2,000, Volkodav said.

“We wish this family well in their pursuit of medical assistance for their son and hope that little AJ is soon enjoying good health,” Volkodav said.

In a letter the AJC obtained from the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months.

“We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter.

Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement Friday 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.”

Emory hospital officials refused to answer additional questions about the case or to provide hospital policy.

Christenbury referred the AJC to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network policies, which Emory follows. It states, “Transplant decisions regarding donors are made based on many medical, social, and psychological factors.”

Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor.

The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett jail where Dickerson was being held.

“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,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28.

It is still unclear why the hospital changed its plan.

The child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year.

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