Dozens Of Strangers Offer Kidneys To Toddler Denied a Transplant At Emory Hospital

Bryan Michalek | October 18, 2017
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A.J. Burgess was born prematurely without working kidneys, putting his life in serious danger.

His father, Anthony Dickerson, came forward to donate his own kidney, which was a 110 percent match. But before the surgery could be performed, Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare postponed the procedure after Dickerson was sent to prison for violating his probation on weapons charges.

Despite being set to donate after being released from jail, Dickerson says the hospital told him he had to be on "good behavior for three to four months" before he would be able to give his son the kidney, effectively postponing the surgery until January of 2018. 

The hospital declined to confirm or deny this accusation due to privacy laws, issuing the following statement obtained by CBS46.

"Emory Healthcare is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors. Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about patients."

Regardless of why the hospital has declined to perform the surgery, A.J's mother, Carmella, believes that 2018 might be too late for the toddler, whose health is continuing to deteriorate. With the financial burden that comes with keeping A.J. in the hospital for an added 3 to 4 months, Carmella had to create a GoFundMe in order to keep her and her family afloat. 

Thankfully, little A.J. might have some good news coming. While donations have poured into his GoFundMe campaign strangers from all over the country have also offered their own kidneys.

11 Alive picked up some these messages from the page and compiled a long list of responses from people trying to help. Here are just a few.

"This may sound crazy but if I could get in touch with this family, and if I were a match for this boy would it be possible to donate my kidney to him? As a gift so to speak? I would want nothing in return. I randomly stumbled across this story and something told me to reach out. I am a perfectly healthy 25-year-old female and it seems so silly and awful that this child could die because of the situation. I have a 3-year-old daughter and I can't imagine if it were my baby. I know I might not be a match but IF I were, I would want to do this..."

"I’m only 18 but after reading the toddlers story I feel like no child should have to suffer from mistakes one of their parents have made. I would love to help and see if I’m a match."

"I would like to know how I can help the child by donating one of my kidneys."

"I am a 19-year-old college student in Missouri. I read your story on Carmella Burgess and her 2-year-old son and it weighed on my heart. I would like to get in contact with her to see if she would allow me to get tested to see if I am a match for a kidney transplant for her little boy."

"I live in Dayton, Ohio. I will be willing to donate a kidney to the 2-year-old boy if I am a match. I do not do any drugs, smoke any tobacco products, nor am I a felon/have a criminal record. The father and myself may be around the same age. If you and the family are willing or want to try to get the process going, you are more than welcome to contact me."

In addition to donation offers, a Texas medical facility even offered up their services to perform the surgery. 

"I saw the report on the 2-year-old. We would be delighted to consider doing their surgery at the Texas Medical Center."

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