A.J. Burgess, 2, was released from from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) at Egleston Nov. 8 after doctors successfully treated him for pneumonia, according to the family’s attorney, Harold Spence.
Burgess was also diagnosed with peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdominal tissue often caused by an infection. He will receive antibiotics to treat the aftereffects of the infection, according to Spence. However, the infection means that Burgess, who was born prematurely without kidneys, is not physically ready for the kidney transplant operation that he needs.
Burgess was initially set to receive a kidney transplant Oct. 3 with his father Anthony Dickerson serving as the donor, but the procedure was delayed until at least January 2018 because Dickerson violated his probation, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In wake of the decision to delay the surgery, locals have held numerous protests and vigils on behalf of the Burgess family. Dickerson was arrested Sept. 28 for probation violation and released from jail Oct. 2. Emory University Hospital (EUH) had informed the family that Dickerson could not donate his organ until he showed proof of compliance with the terms of his probation for three months, according to the AJC.
EUH declined to release information about the patients, as it is barred from releasing personal information about specific patients by federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) guidelines.
“When [A.J. Burgess] will be ready for the transplant surgery is, at this point, a medical determination,” Spence wrote in a Nov. 8 email to the Wheel. “Our hope remains that once Baby AJ has been cleared for the surgery his father’s targeted evaluation would have been completed so that the surgery can take place without additional delay.”
EUH has maintained that it is following United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) guidelines in delaying the surgery. EUH apologized Nov. 2 for a “breakdown of communication” with the child’s family after about 60 Candler School of Theology students and community members, including former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, protested EUH’s decision to delay A.J. Burgess’ kidney transplant Nov. 2. In a Nov. 6 meeting with the Burgess family, EUH said that Dickerson, will be re-evaluated to become an eligible kidney donor for his son.