Hospital moving forward with Baby A.J. kidney donation, family attorneys say

ATLANTA - Saturday morning, attorneys for the family of 2-year-old A.J. Burgess said a Friday surgery to remove an abdominal infection went well. 

They said a Monday meeting is expected with Emory Healthcare to hopefully secure final approval for a kidney transplant from A.J.'s father that's needed to save his life.

In a Friday afternoon press conference, attorney Mawali Davis said the child, who was admitted last week to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for pneumonia, was set for surgery on Friday to remove an infection. He was switched from peritoneal dialysis to hemo dialysis so a hemo port could be placed in his chest.

Once the child has healed, Davis and his firm said Emory would be continuing the process of approving the donation.

Davis' firm, Davis/Bozeman Law, represent A.J.'s parents, Anthony Dickerson and Carmellia Burgess.

A.J. was born without kidneys. Dickerson is a 100 percent match and wants to donate a kidney to his son, but Emory initially denied the transplant because his father had recently violated his parole.

"I'm going to whatever it takes to get my son a kidney," Dickerson said. "I appreciate the community for supporting us."

Facing mounting pressure and criticism, the CEO of Emory Healthcare apologized Thursday night for what he calls “a breakdown in communication” with the boy’s parents.

In a statement issued late Thursday night, Emory Healthcare CEO Dr. Jonathan Lewin said, “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.

“In reviewing our communication with the family, Emory Healthcare wants to acknowledge and apologize for a breakdown in communication on our part. In addition, the Emory Healthcare team and the family agreed to meet again on Monday, Nov. 6, to continue the process.

“In our meeting, we were able to review the situation and agree that moving forward on behalf of AJ is everyone’s most important goal.”

RELATED | Emory CEO: 'We want a positive outcome'

The statement was issued after Lewin met with Dickerson and Carmellia Burgess, along with their attorneys and other members of the community.

RELATED | 2-year-old denied kidney transplant from 100% match dad because of probation violation

Emory has been the focus of numerous demonstrations and prayer vigils over its denial of the kidney donation. On Thursday, a group of demonstrators led by former Atlanta city councilman Derrick Boazman demanded a meeting with Lewin.

The child's family has set up an online fundraising campaign to help with medical expenses, which can be found by clicking here.

RELATED | Donors pour in for 2-year-old who was denied kidney transplant from 100% match

Later in the day, Lewin issued a statement that said, "The national guidelines for approving a potential organ donor are clear and stringent. When evaluating any potential donor, Emory's medical team is required to consider the ability of the donor to manage the many complications and health challenges that come with a major surgical procedure.”

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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