Denied Heart Transplant: Hospital Refuses To Treat 15-Year-Old Anthony Stokes, Cites Bad Grades and 'Noncompliance' [REPORT]
Denied a heart transplant for bad grades? A hospital in Atlanta, Ga., refused to treat 15-year-old Anthony Stokes' enlarged heart, citing the teen's history of "noncompliance" and a brief run-in with the law. Because he was denied a heart transplant, Stokes has only six months to live.
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"They've given him a death sentence," Christine Young Brown, president of the Newton Rockdale County SCLC, told WSBTV about the boy denied a heart transplant.
Four weeks ago, Stokes was admitted to Children's Healthcare of Altlanta at Egleston with chest pain and shortness of breath. It turned out the 15-year-old has an enlarged heart, and the only way to save his life is for the teen to have a heart transplant. But, according to WSBTV, the hospital denied a heart transplant to the teen for low grades and a run-in with the law.
In a letter to NBC News, the hospital said the 15-year-old denied a heart transplant because of a "history of noncompliance."
According to the hospital, Stokes is being denied a heart transplant because the hospital can't prove that the teenager would take his medicine or show up for his follow-up visits, citing bad grades and trouble with the law as evidence of the 15-year-old's supposed disregard for responsibility.
"What places you on the lower part of the transplant list is evidence that you haven't followed through with taking your medications in the past," Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said in an interview with Matt Lauer.
Goldberg said hospitals follow one set of guidelines for all transplants. First they determine if the person is healthy enough to go through with the procedure. She said the hospital will also look at whether or not a patient has taken their medication in the past when determining who to put on a transplant waiting list.
Non-compliance in medical terms is defined as "Failure or refusal to comply," an example being someone who won't take medication that is prescribed to them.
Hospital spokesperson Patty Gregory said in a statement:
"The well-being of our patient's is always our first priority. We are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient's healthcare. We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind."
The teen denied a heart transplant has the option of appealing the hospital's decision to the hospital's ethics committee.
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