Civil Rights Groups Win Petition For Heart Transplant Originally Denied to 15-Year-Old African American

“Save Anthony” is what their petitions read. And now, after reports that he was being denied the opportunity to get a new heart because of poor academic performance, Anthony Stokes has gotten on the heart transplant list.

In an update given Tuesday to Stokes’ mother, Melencia Hamilton, Egleston Children’s Hospital has agreed to preliminarily put Stokes onto the hospital’s heart transplant list.

The teen was originally admitted to PICU on July 14, after experiencing symptoms of chest pains and shortness of breath. After evaluations determined that the teen needed a heart transplant it was subsequently denied by the doctor who reasoned that the child had been in trouble before, according to representatives from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Hamilton says that she was informed by the doctor that Stokes would likely not take his medicine and would be in the streets, making him a less desirable candidate than a child who had good grades and would keep appointments with his doctor.

“The doctor said that the organs were reserved for good children who had not been in trouble before,” Hamilton said.

Relatives of Stokes then contacted SCLC and Operation No Target for Police to Shoot, a mentoring group for young Black males.

On Tuesday night the group was joined by Hamilton for a press conference at Egleston Children’s Hospital Egleston Children’s Hospital to announce Stokes would be placed on the transplant list.

“SCLC Georgia is relieved to have saved another life, and that Anthony now has another chance, like all 15-year olds need regardless [of] any teen discretion,” said SCLC Georgia President Rev. Sam Mosteller. “This chess-player is now being given a chance to perhaps go to college and to be the entrepreneur that he has passionately expressed he wants to be.”

“We have saved one life here, but our mission is to save future lives,” Mosteller added. “The hospital prejudged a young man and made a decision without going through their prescribed procedure.”


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