• Dying teen put at top of list for new heart after initial denial

    By: Tom Jones


    ATLANTA - A dying teen initially told he wouldn't get a new heart has learned he's not only on the transplant list, but he's at the top of it.

    Anthony Stokes' mother, Melencia Hamilton, told Channel 2's Tom Jones she is relieved and her heartache is gone now that her son is getting a new heart.

    "They just had a change of heart,' Hamilton said.

    That change of heart has given Hamilton's 15-year-old son, Anthony, a chance at a new heart.

    Stokes has been moved to 1-A status for a new heart. That means "his heart is critical where he'll be put at the top of the list when a heart becomes available," Hamilton said.

    Anthony's supporters initially said they were told by a transplant committee the teen would not be placed on the transplant list because of his truancy issues and his juvenile record.

    "We believe at the initial point that they stereotyped him," said Sam Mosteller with the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

    Hamilton said Children's Healthcare of Atlanta doctors told her Stokes weakened heart would have killed him within six to nine months without a transplant.

    Then a doctor gave her the great news Tuesday.

    "He told me that he was put on the transplant list," Hamilton said.

    A hospital spokesperson sent out a statement that said, "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."

    Hamilton told Jones she is elated Anthony has a new lease on life and said her son feels the same way.

    "Oh, he was so happy," Hamilton said.

    The hospital said a lot of misinformation has been spread about its position. It said privacy laws prevent it from commenting further.

    Anthony's supporters said if all goes well, he could have a new heart in a few weeks.

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