EDITORIAL: Beyond organ compatibility, donor identity shouldn't matter


When a 2-year-old child born without kidneys needs a transplant to survive, the identity of the donor should have no impact on the viability of the procedure.

Whether he or she matches with someone who has never spent a day behind bars or someone who has been incarcerated on multiple occasions, what matters is that the child receives the medical care he or she needs.

That priority seems so clear, and yet somehow, surgeons at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta deemed the kidney of A.J. Burgess’s father, Anthony Dickerson, unfit for donation because he was sent to prison after violating his parole.

Instead of using Dickerson’s kidney, which was a 100-percent match for his son, Emory health care officials said Dickerson would have to show documentation of good behavior for three to four months before he could regain his eligibility.

Rather than save A.J.'s life in October, Emory was prepared to wait until January 2018 to perform the procedure.

The Editorial Board finds this decision egregiously immoral and seriously questions the rationale that led to such an obvious mistake. Continue reading

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