Anthony Stokes's heart is failing and he's in desperate need of a new one. Today his family worries that he won't be able to get that. No, not necessarily because of lack of availability. Because doctors at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Hospital have ruled him noncompliant and, therefore, ineligible for a transplant.
NoncomWHAT?! According to local news reporters, noncompliant can mean two things in the medical world: 1) They aren't following the medical recommendations or advice of the doctor, or 2) they have a troublesome personal past.
So in so many words -- the teen, who currently has three to six months to live if he isn't given a new heart, has been given a death sentence because of his past behaviors. Whether they were inside or outside of the hospital, we don't know. His mother Melencia says the whole ordeal has been a roller coaster of emotions and sickness.
... I cannot even imagine.
According to Stokes's parents, this history of noncompliance is the only reasoning they've been given as to why Anthony isn't a candidate for the heart transplant. However, the hospital spokeswoman Patty Gregory did release a statement:
The well-being of our patients is always our first priority. We are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient's healthcare. We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind.
There's a glimmer of hope there, sure. Still, I just ... I don't understand. It's so saddening. If Stokes's past is really the reason he's not eligible, it's got to be murder on his parents' hearts. There's no possible way to accept that. There's most definitely no way I could.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has joined the Stokes family in their fight to get Anthony a new heart. Considering this is an issue that could affect hundreds of kids in the future, it's a fight that needs to be approached head-on.
Learn more about Anthony's story, here:
Can you even imagine?
Image via CBS Atlanta