A Georgia teen is in the fight of his life. After being told he has six months to live because of an enlarged heart, 15-year-old Anthony Stokes was recently informed he would not be placed on the list to receive a life-saving heart transplant because of his history of “non-compliance.”
Stokes has been receiving treatment at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for the last month, but doctors say the teen is not eligible for a heart transplant because they do not believe he will comply with post-operation procedures.
The hospital sent Stokes’ family a letter explaining why the teen is not eligible for the list:
“The decision was made that Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of non-compliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant.”
The letter continues: “As we discussed today with Anthony’s mother, we will not place Anthony on the heart transplant waiting list at this time due to this decision.”
While doctors say Stokes will not be placed on the list because they do not believe he will take the necessary medication and attend follow-up appointments after the operation, his mother feels her son was denied for another reason: his troubled past.
Anthony’s mother, Melencia Hamilton, says officials are refusing to put her son on the transplant list because of his low grades and trouble with the law.
Mack Major, a family friend, called the hospital’s reasoning a “fabrication.” He told WTEV, “The non-compliance is a fabrication, because they don’t want to give him a heart. This is unacceptable because he must lose his life because of a non-compliance.”
Stokes’ family has called in civil rights leaders to help pressure the hospital to put Anthony on the transplant list because it is his only hope for survival.
“They’ve given him a death sentence,” Christine Young Brown, president of the Newton Rockdale County SCLC, said.
The hospital released a statement saying they are working with the family to explore all options.
“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.”
Ms. Hamilton she hopes hospital administrators will change their mind about her son.
“I know it’s wrong, because if they get to know him, they would love him,” she said.