A Georgia teenager who has been given six months to live has been denied a heart transplant.
Doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston told 15-year-old Anthony Stokes’ family that they won’t put him on the transplant list because the teen has a history of “noncompliance.”
Stokes’ mother, Melencia Hamilton, said, “They said they don’t have any evidence that he would take his medicine or that he would go to his follow-ups.” She said the transplant is the only way to fix her son’s enlarged heart.
Unlike a normal-sized heart, which is strong and firm, an enlarged heart is weak and out of shape, according to Medical Daily. This causes fluid to build up in the lungs and an irregular heartbeat. If medications and heart device fail to alleviate the symptoms, surgery is the final option.
Family friends told Channel 2 that they were told Stokes was denied because he had poor grades and trouble with the law.
“The noncompliance is fabricating, because they don’t want to give him a heart,” family friend Mack Major said. “This is unacceptable because he must lose his life because of a noncompliance.”
National organ transplant lists have strict guidelines for both donors and recipients.
The hospital said in a statement that it was working with Stokes’ family to explore other options.
“The well-being of our patients is always our first priority. We are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient’s health care,” spokeswoman Patty Gregory said. “We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind.”
According to its website, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta performed 12 pediatric heart transplants in 2012. The hospital has performed over 250 pediatric heart transplants since the program was established in 1988. Patients who receive a heart transplant at Children’s have slightly higher survival rate than the national average one year and three years after the transplant.
Anthony Stokes has been in the hospital since July 14. He could be released soon and sent home with just his medication.
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