Anthony Stokes died in a high speed chase with police officers just two years after he was almost turned down for a heart transplant at 15 due to his “bad behavior.”
The 17-year-old heart transplant recipient was killed on Tuesday afternoon when Georgia police attempted to arrest him for allegedly stealing a car. The stolen Honda reportedly belonged to an elderly Roswell woman. The controversy surrounding the possible denial of the heart transplant for Anthony Stokes made national headlines as doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta debated his fate.
A resident of Decatur, Antony reportedly suffered from a condition known as cardiomyopathy, where the heart is unable to pump enough blood. Such a condition reportedly leads to heart failure, blood clots, and irregular heartbeats. Stokes was given only six to nine months to live when he arrived at the Atlanta hospital.
The then 15-year-old teenager and his family were reportedly told that he could not be placed on the heart transplant list because the doctors felt he would be “non-compliant” with the necessary treatment. Patients in need of new organ can be disqualified from consideration if the medical teams feels they will not be able to maintain the medication regimen and other health related requirements after the transplant. Anthony Stokes had reportedly opted not to take his heart medication in the past, an act which led doctors to believe he was not a qualified candidate for the heart transplant list.
Stokes’ family and friends claimed that the teenager’s “brushes with the law” and poor grades were the real reason the Atlanta doctors refused to put him on the heart transpalnt list. Melencia Hamilton, Anthony Stokes’ mother, told the media that her son was being “stereotyped” as a “troubled teen.” Stokes had previously been required to wear a monitoring device by a Georgia criminal court.
Anthony Stokes’ family engaged the aid of Civil Rights groups, attracting national media attention in the process, in an effort to push for inclusion on the heart transplant list. The Atlanta hospital ultimately reversed its decision and spared a heart for the teenager, which gave him life until he was killed attempting to evade the police and avoid an arrest for allegedly stealing a car. Stokes went to the top of the list immediately after being granted heart transplant eligibility.
Roswell, Georgia police said that Antony Stokes put on a mask to conceal his identity and kicked in an old woman’s door on Tuesday. The heart transplant recipient then allegedly shot at the woman as she sat watching television on her couch. The unidentified woman then reportedly ran to a bedroom and hid. Although police found multiple bullet holes in her walls, she was unharmed.
During the high-speed police chase, Anthony Stokes allegedly knocked down a woman when he clipped a curb with the car and then crashed into a bank sign. The stolen Honda was wrapped around a pole when Georgia police pulled onto the crash scene. The 33-year-old pedestrian is reportedly in good condition at a local hospital. Stokes died after being cut out of the stolen car. When asked why he wanted a heart transplant two years ago, Anthony Stokes said, “So I can live a second chance. Get a second chance and do things I want to do.”
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