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Toddler Denied Life-Saving Kidney Transplant Because Father Violated Probation

A life-saving kidney transplant is on hold for a 2-year-old boy in Georgia because of his father’s probation violation, CBS News reports.

The boy, A.J. Burgess, was born a month too soon without a working kidney, and his father Anthony Dickerson is a 110 percent match for an organ donation, according to the report. But surgeons at Emory Hospital in Atlanta won’t perform the operation because Dickerson served time in prison for violating probation.

Burgess, who only weighs 25 pounds at age 2, spent 10 months in a neonatal intensive care unit. Dickerson was tested and proved to be the perfect match to give his son a kidney.

As soon as Dickerson was released from prison, he was about to go through the steps to donate his kidney on Oct. 3. However, he returned to jail for violating his parole again, according to the report.

It was at that point everything changed for the family and Carmella said that the hospital needed three to four months before the child’s father could donate his kidney.

Dickerson said the hospital’s tone changed once he was released.

“The Living Donor Transplant Team at Emory has asked Mr. Dickerson for evidence of compliance from his parole officer for the next three months. We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of his completed documentation.”

The family says a probation violation shouldn’t stop the process — especially if Dickerson is healthy and clean.

“It’s about my son,” Burgess said. “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.”

Dickerson says he does not want his arrest to impact his son’s chances at living a normal life.

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

“He’s only two,” Burgess said. “He doesn’t deserve this. We’ve been waiting so long for this.”

A.J. suffered a stroke two months ago and needs constant care. Now he’s being told to wait even though his perfect match sits beside him.

“They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s about our two-year-old son.”

The hospital was asked about how someone being arrested impacts the possibility of donating a kidney and they would not answer the question. Instead, Emory Healthcare released a statement saying “they cannot answer specific questions because of patient confidentiality.”

The family says their only option now is to get on the kidney transplant waitlist, but that could take a long time, and they are desperate for help.


The family is hoping a GoFundMe page will bring awareness to the family’s predicament and provide funds for financial stability. The campaign has already raised $6,503 in five days.

Political Dig reader Blair Mulzer contributed to this update.

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