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Children Healthcare of Atlanta Finally Adds 15 y/o To Heart Transplant List

4:16 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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Decatur, GA-- In three weeks Anthony Stokes has gone from a teen who never had anything more than a cold, to a boy with chest pains fighting for his life.

His family says he needs a heart, but Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the only facility in Georgia that does pediatric transplants says it won't put his name on the list.

Melencia Hamilton can barely speak without tears. She fears losing her son, and struggles to understand the letter she received from the hospital, denying him a spot on the transplant list.

The letter said Stokes was currently not a candidate, "due to having a history of non-compliance."

Hamilton says she has no idea what that means. She feels he's being denied in part because he's been too healthy. He doesn't have a track record to prove he would take medication and follow doctor's orders.

Children's Healthcare would not talk with us about the decision, but in a statement said, " we are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient's health care."

UPDATE (Late Tuesday): According to his family, 15-year-old Anthony Stokes, who was previously denied access to the heart transplant list at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, has now been placed on that list.

The family's contact, Mark Bell, told 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom Tuesday afternoon that the hospital had put Stokes had been placed on the transplant list. He said the family had been receiving calls from as far away as Panama asking if there was any way they could help.

Stokes has been hospitalized, with his family being told that the only way he can survive is through a heart transplant.

His mother, Melencia Hamilton says the letter she received from the hospital denying placement of Stokes on the list says he was not a candidate "due to having a history of non-compliance."

Hamilton says she feels he is being denied in part because he's been too healthy. He does not have a track record to prove he would take medication or follow doctor's orders.

Adult transplant surgeon Dr. David Dean from Piedmont Healthcare said non compliance could mean a patient has a history of drugs or alcohol, or that the patient has not shown up for their doctor's appointment.

Hamilton says her son's only sin is anger management. He has been in some fights -- enough that a judge sentenced him to house arrest. He was wearing an ankle monitor when he initially went to the emergency room.

Officials at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta released a statement to 11Alive News late Tuesday afternoon: "As we stated previously, a heart transplant evaluation is an ongoing process based on the patient and his or her family's ability to meet specific transplant criteria. While there has been misinformation circulating, Children's cannot discuss the specifics of this case or any other case due to privacy rules. Our physician experts are continuing to work with this family to establish a care plan and determine the best next steps for the patient. At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, patient care is always our top priority."

Bell says Stokes will remain in the hospital for the foreseeable future.

Source: WXIA

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