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Teen With Months To Live Denied Heart Transplant For 'Non-Compliance'

A Georgia teenager needs a lifesaving heart transplant, but his family says low grades and trouble with the law have kept him off the transplant list.


Fifteen-year-old Anthony Stokes has been denied the heart transplant that would save his life.

UPDATE: The hospital has changed their mind and he's on the transplant list.

The family of 15-year-old Anthony Stokes are pleading with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to add his name to the transplant list for a new heart because he has less than six months to live.

Stokes' family has been told that Anthony doesn’t qualify for the transplant list because he has a “history of non-compliance," partly due to a history of low grades and having had some trouble with the law.

“They said they don’t have any evidence that he would take his medicine or that he would go to his follow-ups,” Melencia Hamilton, Anthony’s mother, told WSBTV News. Hamilton explained that her son has an enlarged heart, and a transplant is the only thing that will help his condition.

The doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta weren’t very specific about just what specifically contributed to their decision to label Anthony as “non-compliant.” But family friends say that they were told it’s partly because of Anthony’s performance in school and run-ins with law enforcement.

His family and friends don’t accept that as a reason to deny the teen life-saving treatment, and civil rights organizations are beginning to take up Anthony’s cause, saying a child’s past shouldn’t have anything to do with the medical care they receive. “He’s been given a death sentence because of a broad and vague excuse of non-compliance,” a representative from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Christine Young Brown, said. “There was nothing specific in that decision. Just non-compliance.”

The hospital released a statement saying that it was continuing to work with the family to explore its options.

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