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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Atlanta Teenager Denied Heart Transplant

The mother of a 15-year-old boy from the Atlanta area said hospital officials were denying her son a heart transplant because, they said, he had failed to comply with past medical instructions, including properly taking his medication.

Melencia Hamilton told WSB-TV in Atlanta that hospital officials had decided that her son, Anthony Stokes, would not be a good candidate for a transplant even though he has only six months to live. “They said they don’t have any evidence that he would take his medicine or that he would go to his follow-ups,” she said.

But Ms. Hamilton, whose son is being treated for an enlarged heart at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, told reporters that she was concerned he was being denied because of his poor grades and past brushes with the law. “He’s a young boy,” she said. “He’s going to make mistakes, but I still think he deserves a second chance.”

Anthony arrived in the hospital’s emergency room with an ankle monitoring bracelet, according to KSDK-TV. Family members said that a judge had sentenced him to house arrest for being involved in a few fights at school.

Doctors have told Ms. Hamilton and her family that without a heart transplant, Anthony has about six months to live. He has been hospitalized since mid-July.

News of his case swirled around the Internet this week, with people starting online petitions asking Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to put him on the transplant list.

Patty Gregory, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in a statement that the hospital followed “very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind.” She added:

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. We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind. We never stop working to help our sick patients. In all transplant cases, we work closely with the family and their support network to coordinate the best possible result for the patient, and continue to find solutions. In this particular case, we are continuing to partner with the family.

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