Baby AJ: Community Action Prompts Movement On Kidney Transplant Talks

Attorneys for the family of Baby A.J. said they’d been trying to get a meeting with officials with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for several weeks. But it wasn’t until yesterday, after community activists and even students from Emory University gathered at the hospital, did we hear of any interest from the hospital in talking about 2 year old A.J. Burgess. Hospital CEO Dr. Jonathan Lewin has now issued a statement apologizing for what he called a “breakdown in communication” with the baby’s father, Anthony Dickerson and mother Carmellia Burgess.

The toddler was born without kidneys. His father was a 100% match, but apparently because of a recent parole violation, the hospital postponed the transplant for 3 months. Congressman Hank Johnson was among those who said the hospital had essentially “signed a death warrant” for the little boy. Lewin, who leads Emory Healthcare, said in the statement “We have had an open and honest discussion in focusing on our shared goal of ensuring the health and well-being of A.J. and his father.”

Attorney Mawuli Davis, who represents the family, said a meeting is scheduled Monday with the transplant team. “We feel hopeful and thankful” said Davis. “Thankful” he adds “because there is a community that is willing to come to bat, including the V103 and WAOK family that has been very vocal, very present.” Davis said they’re hopeful because “the family, since October 4th, has been trying to have a dialogue with the hospital to find out how this could move forward.” He said Thursday was the first chance of that happening. “We anticipate that Monday will be another productive step forward.” The family says it will keep the community up to date on their progress. “The family recognizes that”, according to Davis, “without the community, this would have gone in the same direction as it has been going, which was completely unproductive and leading to a very dangerous situation for Baby A.J.” The child was rushed to Egleston Children’s Hospital last Sunday morning. He’s being treated for a stomach infection.

Former Atlanta City Council member Derrick Boazman, host of radio station WAOK’s “Too Much Truth” program, called it “a miracle”. Boazman was among those who gathered at the hospital Thursday. Prayer vigils had been ongoing, organized by Pastor Derrick Rice of Sankofa United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Gerald Griggs, representing the Georgia and Atlanta chapters of the NAACP said, in-that the father is a 100% match, “it’s only fair and equitable that Emory should do the operation.”

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