An Atlanta hospital has reversed its controversial decision to keep a troubled 15-year-old off the heart transplant list after his family took their fight to the media.
Anthony Stokes has only 6 months to live if he doesn’t get a life-saving heart transplant. But doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta informed Anthony’s mother that his name would not be added to the transplant list. Anthony’s mother, Melencia Hamilton, told CBS Atlanta the hospital believed Anthony would be “non-compliant” with his medications and follow-up treatment.
Anthony’s outraged parents and supporters told TODAY that she thought CHOA was punishing her son for his criminal history and poor grades in school.
She said Anthony was wearing an ankle monitor when he was admitted to CHOA last month. He had been placed under house arrest for a recent fight.
Transplant doctors are usually not concerned with a patient’s school grades or criminal history. But transplant doctors will deny a patient a spot on the list if the patient demonstrates noncompliance with medications, drugs, alcohol, or shows a lack of regard for life.
Hamilton told TODAY that her son does not have a history of noncompliance with his meds. She said he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart last month when he showed up at the hospital, complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain.
Hamilton said that denying her son a new heart would be a death sentence for him.
“He’s a young boy,” Hamilton said. “He’s going to make mistakes, but I still think he deserves a second chance.”
Children’s hospital of Atlanta released a statement to the media that read:
“As we stated previously, a heart transplant evaluation is an ongoing process based on the patient and his or her family’s ability to meet specific transplant criteria,” Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. “While there has been misinformation circulating, Children’s cannot discuss the specifics of this case or any other case due to privacy rules. Our physician experts are continuing to work with this family to establish a care plan and determine the best next steps for the patient.”