Georgia teen’s death after appendectomy leaves family, community in shock

WHITFIELD COUNTY, Ga. — A north Georgia family and community are mourning a 14-year-old girl who died during a surgery to have her appendix removed.

Autumn Marie Perry, an eighth grade student at Westside Middle School in Rocky Face, died due to complications during an appendectomy, according to her family.

“I just know things won’t be the same without her,” her cousin Serenity Kelly told ABC affiliate WTVC in Chattanooga.

Perry’s family said the 14-year-old was admitted to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton on Christmas Day.

Her aunt De-Lana Shelton says they have been left wondering how her niece died during a common surgery.

“I’m very angry, very hurt. She was like my own," Shelton said. “I didn’t believe it. I still don’t want to believe it."

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Hamilton Medical Center told WTVC they could not comment on a minor in their care, but they said in part:

“Our highest priority is caring for our patients. Should a situation or concern arise with respect to the provision of patient care, Hamilton Medical Center takes all such concerns very seriously and endeavors to thoroughly address them."

The Whitfield County community held a vigil for Perry Monday night, releasing balloons and holding candles in her memory Monday night. Perry ran track-and-field and was a cheerleader at her middle school.

“She’s awesome actually, she’s a talented person, athlete,” said Kelly.

Perry’s family is left trying to figure out how to pay for her medical and funeral expenses. Her aunt started a GoFundMe page, which has raised $7,000 for the family.

A funeral for Perry was held on New Year’s Day at the Ponders Funeral Home.