Tags: AJBurgesskidneytranspalnt | EmoryHospital

Toddler Denied Kidney By Hospital With No Heart

Toddler Denied Kidney By Hospital With No Heart

By    |   Thursday, 09 November 2017 12:06 PM


Warning to would-be organ recipients: the rules have changed.

Big Brother has issued an edict that will determine whether a donor’s organ is “good” or “bad.”

It has nothing to do with those now-passé compatibility traits, such as blood type, tissue type and cross-matching.

Instead, it’s an organ’s character and legal status.

And that’s not chopped liver, but all-too-real, as a case in Georgia illustrates.

As a result, people who had hoped for a new beginning may now find themselves staring death in the face, courtesy of the medical profession playing something more than just God --- Big Brother.

A.J. Burgess, a 2-year old boy from Atlanta who weighs a scant 25 pounds, was born prematurely and without functioning kidneys. He spent his first ten months in a neonatal intensive care unit, and to this day, his mother, Carmellia, feeds him intravenously. He also undergoes daily dialysis.

Carmellia said that she was counseled to abort, being told that A.J. would not live more than 24 hours after birth. Defying the “experts,” Carmellia had the courage to persevere, and proudly calls A.J. a miracle child.

That he is.

But A.J. is in desperate need of a kidney, and if he doesn’t receive one, he’ll likely soon die.

The good news is that his father, Anthony Dickerson, is a perfect match, so much so that he was scheduled to donate his kidney last month.

The bad, and unbelievable, news is that Emory Hospital called off the surgery. Why? Because Dickerson was arrested for a parole violation.

So a child clinging to life was given hope because a perfect kidney was found, but because of the donor’s trouble with the law, the hospital refused to perform life-saving surgery --- a decision that could well become a death sentence.

This is so wrong, on so many levels.

1) Why is the hospital so hellbent on being Big Brother? What concern is it of theirs that the donor has a parole violation? According to Mawuli Davis, the Burgess’ attorney, the hospital said it needs the father to be compliant with the terms of his parole for a ninety-day period. That pushes any operation back until at least January --- time that Carmellia says A.J. might not have, especially because he is battling a bladder infection.

Perhaps the only thing more stunning than Emory’s arrogance is its complete disregard for the Hippocratic Oath --- those timeless ideals where doctors are supposed to follow the highest ethical standards to save the lives of their patients. What could possibly be more ethical than saving the life of a little boy? Do they not owe it to A.J. to do everything in their medical power to save him? 

Apparently not, as hospital administrators seem to value playing parole officer, judge, and jury over being medical professionals. And do such standards apply to all hospital workers, including doctors and nurses convicted of criminal offenses, such as DUI?

Big Brother is not always paternalistic government, but any bureaucratic entity that thinks it, and not the people, knows best. Diagnosing Emory Hospital with toxic Big Brother-itis would be an understatement.

2) If the hospital doesn’t budge, and A.J. dies, it is not beyond possibility that some administrators could be charged, on anything from negligence to involuntary manslaughter. Just as some states impose criminal sanctions against people who do not help those in dire need, so too might hospital personnel be liable for effectively abandoning A.J.

3) Is race a factor, even subconsciously, since A.J. and his family are black? Who knows? This author can’t say. However, that possibility cannot be summarily dismissed. In A.J.’s case, it is worth asking: “If the Burgesses were white, would the same decision have been made?” 

4) The biggest tragedy is that, given the spate of deadly attacks, Emory Hospital doesn’t see the irony of the situation.

All innocent human life is precious, so when people are needlessly ripped away from us, it is impossible to comprehend. Some people are simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and through no fault of their own, die at the hands of lunatics. The hard truth is, when a deranged person decides he has seen his last sunrise, and sets off to kill, innocents will die, and nothing can prevent that.


Not the case in Atlanta, where Emory Hospital can proactively save a life. By allowing Mr. Dickerson to donate his kidney now, young A.J.’s death CAN be prevented, just by the hospital exercising just a little humility and common sense.

With so much despair, this is a golden opportunity to do something positive. We should be celebrating a life saved, but sadly, it looks as if we might instead be mourning a little boy’s death, wondering what contributions he could have made, if only he had the chance.

5) We often hear about the need for prison reform, and the value in rethinking how we rehabilitate prisoners. Well, we can do that, right now. Allow Dickerson the chance to become the role model father he has never been. Give him the opportunity to give the greatest gift possible --- part of himself, literally --- to save his son. Help him understand that he can right some of his wrongs, and change his legacy for the better. And explain that A.J. needs an honest father, one who can impart wisdom and guidance in a way that only a father can give to a son, so that A.J.’s new-found life is never squandered. It would be the ultimate second chance for both of them.

So few can ever say they directly saved another human being’s life. Anthony Dickerson can do that --- and wants to. For God’s sake, if that’s not the best way to rehabilitate someone, what is?


A.J.’s case briefly made national headlines, before the media moved on to more “pressing” stories such as Millennials camping out for a $1,000 iPhone and how the President’s Twitter account went blank for eleven minutes.

Nonetheless, because of local protests, Emory Hospital have started making small overtures to the Burgess family that maybe, just maybe, a quicker solution can be found. But maybe isn’t good enough.  A.J. doesn’t need “maybe.” He needs his father’s kidney. Immediately.

It is now up to the news media. We will make or break A.J.’s fate. Our actions, not the President’s rhetoric, will determine if we are indeed “fake.”  If pressure is brought to bear, and Emory is put on the hot seat, then A.J. Burgess will live to tell his story.

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