Toddler's kidney transplant stalled after donor dad violates probation, family claims

A 2-year-old boy who has been suffering from kidney issues since birth will have to wait a few more months for a transplant after his dad, who was found to be a perfect match, violated terms of his probation. The surgery was scheduled to take place on Oct. 3, but Emory University Hospital informed the family about a change of plans after Anthony Dickerson’s latest arrest, AJC.com reported.

Anthony Dickerson Jr. was born without kidneys, and was due to receive his father’s left organ. Last month, he allegedly suffered a stroke and now requires constant care, WTSP reported.

“They’re making this about his dad,” Carmellia Burgess, Anthony Dickerson Jr.’s mother, told the news outlet. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.”

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Dickerson, 26, was first arrested in 2011 on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge, AJC.com reported. He was arrested for violating his probation in September and charged with possession of a firearm. While jailed, the hospital allegedly wrote on his behalf to request he be escorted to Emory for blood work and pre-operative testing.

“Mr. Dickerson is currently in custody for a parole violation,” the alleged letter stated. “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.”  

However, after Dickerson was released days after testing, Burgess said she received a second letter from Emory informing the family that the surgery would be delayed until Dickerson complied with his parole officer after three months.

“The Living Donor Team at Emory has asked Mr. Dickerson of compliance from his parole officer for the next three months,” the purported letter said, according to WTSP.com. “We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation.”

A representative would not provide further comment about the case to the news outlet.

“Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Janet Christenbury, a hospital spokeswoman, told AJC.com. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.”

A petition started by the family urging the hospital to allow for the surgery to be rescheduled has received more than 25,000 signatures. A GoFundMe page set up to help cover medical expenses has surpassed it's $1,000 goal in two days.

“He’s only two,” Burgess told WTSP of her son. “He doesn’t deserve this. We’ve been waiting so long for this.”