A surgery that could change a 2-year-old boy’s life is on hold. The reason, according to the boy’s mother, is because of bureaucratic differences between the hospital and law enforcement. She is working hard to fix that.
Her son, A.J., was born without kidneys. But he does have someone ready to donate who is a perfect match — his father, Anthony Dickerson.
“That’s all I ever wanted — was a son,” Anthony said. “And I finally got him, and he’s in this situation.”
Anthony made plans to donate his left kidney to their miracle baby. His mother, Carmella Burgess, was bursting with excitement.
“Two steps closer to giving him a kidney and we got shut down, basically,” she said.
Things took an unexpected turn when Dickerson was arrested last month for probation violation. He is charged with possession of a firearm.
He says Emory Hospital sent to the Gwinnett County Jail, stating, “Mr. Dickerson is currently in custody for a parole violation. 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.”
Upon his release, Dickerson said the hospital changed its tone.
“The Living Donor Transplant Team at Emory as asked Mr. Dickerson for evidence of compliance from his parole officer for the next three months. We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of his completed documentation.”
The family asserts that violating probation should not affect the process — especially is Dickerson is in good health and clean.
“It’s about my son,” Carmella said. “He’s been through a lot. It’s like we’ve been waiting on this. And Dad making a mistake shouldn’t affect what he wants to do with our son.”
11Alive attempted to contact to the hospital, but Emory Healthcare says patient confidentiality prohibits them from answering specific questions.
“Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize the risk for living donors,” the hospital said.
The news station then asked a more general question about how someone being arrested affects the possibility of donating a kidney — they declined to answer.
Dickerson says he does not want his arrest to affect his son’s chances at living a regular life.
“What do he got to do with the mistakes I made? Nothing,” Anthony said.
“He’s only two,” Carmellia said. “He don’t deserve this. We’ve been waiting so long for this.”
Two months ago, A.J. suffered a stroke, and requires constant medical attention. He frequently visits the doctor, and now he has to wait — despite his perfect match sitting right next to him.
“They’re making this about Dad,” Carmella said. “It’s about our 2-year-old son.”
The family says all they can do now is sign up for the kidney transplant wait list, but that could months or longer, and they are in desperate need for help.