Dying Boy Denied Organ Transplant Over Donor Gun Charge

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A two-year-old child named A.J. Burgess is dying.

He was born without functioning kidneys and is having to undergo dialysis every day. He also needs to have surgery on his bladder. The bottom line for A.J. is this: He needs a kidney.


His dad is a perfect match, and the hospital knows this. However, the hospital is not letting Anthony Dickerson donate his kidney to his son. Why? Because is in trouble for violating his parole – he was busted for possession of a gun. Via Reason:

Dickerson was “in possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies,” according to WGCL-TV. He’s been released from prison, but the hospital won’t perform surgery until his parole officer gives the okay.

That could take three to four months—the hospital wants to revisit the issue in January. Of course, there’s no guarantee Burgess will live that long. He has to undergo dialysis every day. His body is failing. He has to have bladder surgery. He needs a kidney now, and a highly motivated donor—his father—is willing to give him one.

What dad’s criminal record has to do with it is anyone’s guess. The hospital has declined to answer reporters’ questions, citing patient privacy laws.


As Reason goes on to mention, Dickerson is frequently getting caught up in criminal activity. That should not factor into the consideration. However, it is possible that drug use and/or sexual activity are the factors that are preventing him from donating his kidneys to his son. Those would also fall under the “patient privacy laws” part of Reason’s story.

But, if the gun charge is the logic here, then this is so incredibly dumb. Does the hospital believe that criminal tendencies are transferable via kidney? Would doing so violate the do-no-harm thing?

Hopefully, we’ll soon learn the reason for it… and by “hopefully,” I mean before something tragic happens.


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