Doctors Won't Let Dad Give Son Kidney Because Of Criminal Charges

The Atlanta father says the 2-year-old boy has "nothing" to do with his mistakes.

Anthony Dickerson doesn’t have a perfect record.

The 26-year-old Atlanta resident has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dickerson was recently released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during attempted felonies.

Criminal record or not, Dickerson has vowed to do right by his 2-year-old, A.J. Burgess, who was born without a working kidney.

Turns out, Dickerson is a perfect match for A.J., but bureaucracy is keeping his son from having the lifesaving organ transplant.

Dickerson was scheduled to donate his kidney to the boy Oct. 3, but things changed after he went back to jail for a parole violation stemming from his most recent arrest, according to A.J.’s mom, Carmella Burgess.

“The lady said we need your parole information and your probation info,” Burgess told local station WGCL-TV. “He said, ‘Why?’ ‘We need you to be on good behavior for three to four months before you can give your son the kidney. And January 2018 we will think about re-evaluating you,’ basically.”

A.J. weighs about 25 pounds, and his mother worries that he’s getting worse each day. The boy also needs bladder surgery and suffered a stroke two months ago, according to WXIA-TV.

Dickerson is ready and willing to help his son survive, but he doesn’t understand why his criminal record is being used as an excuse to not operate on the boy.

“What do he got to do with the mistakes I made? Nothing,” Dickerson told WXIA. 

A.J. Burgess was born without a working kidney. His father is a match as a donor.
A.J. Burgess was born without a working kidney. His father is a match as a donor.

Emory Healthcare sent this statement to local media about the case:

“Emory Healthcare 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.”

“Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about patients.”

WXIA-TV followed up with a general question about how an arrest would affect someone’s ability to donate a kidney, but the health care provider never answered the question.

A.J.’s mother doesn’t think it should matter.

“It’s about my son,” Burgess told the station. “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.”

The only other option is to join the kidney transplant waiting list, which could take as much as three to five years, according to the New York Daily News, although children are prioritized.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the boy’s medical expenses. 



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