Georgia Teenager Gets Heart Transplant After Hospital Initially Denied Him

Anthony Stokes had an enlarged heart and was given six months to live.

ByABC News
August 21, 2013, 9:47 AM

Aug. 21. 2013— -- Anthony Stokes, the 15-year-old boy whose family said he was initially denied a place on the heart transplant waiting list because of "noncompliance," has received a new heart.

Anthony underwent the five-hour heart transplant surgery at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, family spokesman Mark Bell told ABC News. He is now resting and in recovery.

"I would like to thank everyone involved, and that we will update everyone throughout the day," Melencia Hamilton, Anthony's mother, said through Bell.

Doctors reversed their decision to keep Anthony off the transplant list on Aug. 13.

Anthony had an enlarged heart and had been given six months to live, but family members said doctors told them at the time that they wouldn't put him on the transplant list because of his history of "noncompliance." This typically means a patient hasn't shown that he can follow medical directions, such as taking medicine or showing up for follow-up appointments.

"I know he will comply with all the rules," a crying Hamilton told ABC News last week, before she learned that doctors had reversed their decision and would put Anthony on the transplant list. "He will take his medicine because he knows that is how he has to live."

Hamilton said she believed doctors made their decision to deny Anthony because he had low grades and had been in trouble with the law.

"He was just fighting," Hamilton said. "Trying to take up, just trying to take up for his brother because somebody was bullying his brother."

She said she wishes everyone could get to know her son.

A spokeswoman at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where Stokes is receiving treatment, would not comment today on the specifics of his case, citing patient privacy laws, but said there was some "misinformation" circulating.

The hospital released a statement Monday saying that it was continuing to work with the family to explore its options.

"We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind," hospital spokeswoman Patty Gregory said in the statement to

Read about organ transplant rules in other countries.