Change of Heart: Hospital Backtracks on Decision to Deny Teen Transplant

Anthony stokes, heart transplant teen, denied, reversed decision, hospital reverses decision


A hospital has reversed its decision to deny a heart transplant to a dying teenager after the story went viral and sparked public outrage.

Anthony Stokes of Georgia was given six months to live because of an enlarged heart. The devastating news was made far worse by the fact that a hospital refused to put Anthony on the transplant list because of his past of “non-compliance,” citing his history with not following doctor’s orders.

After the story went viral, the hospital has decided to reverse its decision.

The hospital released a statement today, as reported by

We met with hospital officials about 30 minutes ago. After reviewing the situation, they said Anthony would be placed on the list for a heart transplant and that he would be first in line, due to his weakened heart condition.

Family spokesman Mark Bell passed the statement onto the media this morning, but did not know what made the hospital change its mind.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta released a statement soon after:

As we stated previously, a heart transplant evaluation is an ongoing process based on the patient and his or her family’s ability to meet specific transplant criteria. […] Our physician experts are continuing to work with this family to establish a care plan and determine the best next steps for the patient.

Anthony and his family were told last month that Anthony his heart was failing due to an enlarged heart and that he only has six more months to live, according to WSBTV in Atlanta.

An enlarged heart is often caused by high blood pressure or coronary artery disease, according to WebMD. The heart enlarges in response to damage to the muscle. The enlarging of the muscle stretches the right and left ventricles until they are stretched thin. Eventually, the heart will stop pumping blood effectively.

The 15-year-old was admitted to the hospital on July 15 and had remained there ever since.

While the hospital said it denied his transplant based on his history of not following doctor’s orders, his family believes that it actually has to do with
Anthony’s history with the law and poor grades. According to a the Today Show, Anthony was under house arrest with an ankle monitor at the time he was admitted to hospital. He received that sentence from a judge after getting into “a few fights,” according to KSDK. Anthony’s mother admits her son does have an anger problem.

The hospital sent the family a formal letter on August 7 denying Anthony of the procedure, according to the Daily Mail.

The decision was made that Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of non-compliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant.

As we discussed today with Anthony’s mother, we will not place Anthony on the heart transplant waiting list at this time due to this decision.

Anthony’s friends and family were devastated, but with today’s development, the Stokes family has been given a breath of life and a chance at saving Anthony’s future.

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