Black teen heart transplant denial a case of profiling, says SCLC leader

Anthony Stokes

Christine Young Brown of the SCLC believes Anthony Stokes has been given a death sentence. Stokes, 15, is being denied proper healthcare because of his past behavior. He is in need of a heart transplant because he has an enlarged heart. Stokes is currently a patient at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and could die in three to six months if he doesn’t get a new heart.

However, the doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston will not put Stokes on the transplant eating list because of bad grades that he made while in school. In a letter sent to Stokes’ family, hospital officials wrote,“the decision was made that Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of non-compliance. As we discussed today with Anthony’s mother, we will not place Anthony on the heart transplant waiting list at this time due to this decision.”

Brown, who is a friend of Stokes’ family, recently spoke with rolling out about Stokes and believes he is being profiled and not given a fair opportunity to live.

What was the reason doctors told Anthony and his family that he couldn’t get on the heart transplant list? 

They are saying it’s because of non-compliance. That term is usually for patients with a past medical history, but Anthony doesn’t have a medical history. He has a birth defect. There is a study that children who have heart defects have a host of problems. But he can draw and he plays chess. He has already defied odds. There was a case with a guy named Larry Hagman who was a heavy drinker and received two livers. This child is 15 with no history of drugs or alcohol abuse.

How was the family notified that he wouldn’t be able to join the list?

The doctor told his family that he was going to die because he needs a heart. Last Thursday, the doctor apologized to his mother for telling her that her son would die. The doctors  met with us last week. The doctors asked us for his education and juvenile records. Mack Major [a family friend] asked ‘how can you make a medical decision based on his education records and juvenile records?’ We wondered how they came to this decision.

Do you think Anthony was profiled by doctors in any way?

They did. They profiled this child. Trayvon Martin was profiled. They are telling us that it’s OK to let black children die. They don’t see any value in his life. All of us can look back and see where we made mistakes as kids. But we all go through changes. Anthony shouldn’t be judged on his past conduct when it comes to his health.

The doctors also said they didn’t believe he would take the meds necessary. How did they come to that conclusion?

He has been in the hospital and has been very compliant. I don’t know how they can see he is not compliant. I’m seeing a pattern where medicaid children are being patched up and shipped home to die. I’m wondering who is getting these organs. A lot of these organs are coming from medicaid patients who die. It’s a bigger picture to this. His family is not financially well-off. But he wants the chance to live and go to college. This is equal to a death sentence.

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