Tags: Health Topics | Healthcare Reform | emory | kidney | transplant | vop

Parent's Character Should Never Determine a Child's Fate

Parent's Character Should Never Determine a Child's Fate
Carmellia Burgess, left, and Anthony Dickerson wear shirts with a photo of their son A.J., who is waiting for a kidney transplant, outside Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. Emory University Hospital notified Burgess that until Dickerson could show he has complied with the conditions of his probation for 90 days, surgery would be delayed. (David Goldman/AP)

By Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

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-pass√© compatibility traits, such as blood type, tissue type, and cross-matching.

Instead, it’s an organ’s character and legal status. 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, but rather big brother.

A.J. Burgess is a two-year old boy from Atlanta who weighs a scant 25 pounds. He was born prematurely, without functioning kidneys. He spent his first 10 months in a neonatal intensive care unit. 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 may 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 violation of probation (VOP).

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 possibly be a death sentence.

This is wrong — on many levels.

Why is the hospital so determined to be big brother? What concern is it of theirs that the donor has a probation violation? According to Mawuli Davis, the Burgess’ attorney, the hospital said it needs the father to be compliant with the terms of his probation for a 90-day period. That pushes any operation back until at least January of 2018. That is 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 those timeless ideals whereby 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. Do such standards apply to all hospital workers, including doctors and nurses convicted of criminal offenses, like DUI for example?

Big brother is not always paternalistic government, but any bureaucratic entity that thinks it, and not the people, knows best.

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. When people are needlessly ripped away from us, it's impossible to comprehend. Some 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 so in the Atlanta case. Here, 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 passing, wondering what contributions he could have made, if only he had the chance.

It would be the ultimate second chance for both father and son.

So few can ever say they directly saved another human being’s life. Anthony Dickerson can do that — and wants to.

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 11 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.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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Allow Anthony Dickerson the chance to become a role model father. Give him the opportunity to give the greatest gift possible, part of himself, to save his son. Help him understand that he can change his legacy for the better.
emory, kidney, transplant, vop
Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:42 PM
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