A Georgia toddler born with no kidneys was rushed to the emergency room as he awaits transplant surgery from his father, who is currently barred from donating his kidney after violating probation.
The 2-year-old boy, A.J. Burgess, was taken to the hospital on Sunday morning for peritonitis, an abdominal infection, his family said on their GoFundMe page. A family attorney confirmed that A.J. was hospitalized and is listed in critical but stable condition.
A.J.'s father, Anthony Dickerson, 26, is a match, but was unexpectedly delayed from donating his kidney after he violated probation following theft and forgery charges. Dickerson was released from jail on Oct. 2, a day before A.J.'s scheduled surgery, but wasn't able to proceed with the operation because of red tape between police and the hospital, his family said.
"We've been waiting for so long for this, and we were right at the front door," A.J.'s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA earlier this month.
Gwinnett County police say they arrested Dickinson on Sept. 28 after he allegedly fled when police found him in possession of a firearm.
A.J.'s mother said she notified police the following day that her son was scheduled to have a kidney transplant from Dickerson, and she and Emory University Hospital, where the surgery was to take place, sent a letter to the Gwinnett County Jail requesting Dickerson be taken to Emory for necessary pre-surgery blood work.
Then, says Burgess, an unexpected delay popped up: Emory Hospital told the family it needed evidence of "good behavior" from Dickinson before they would allow him to donate his kidney. They said they would re-evaluate in January 2018 — which the family fears will be too late.
Guidelines for organ transplants are "designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors," an Emory spokeswoman explained in a later statement.
Peritonitis, the infection which landed A.J. in the emergency room, is an inflammation of the membrane lining the inner abdominal wall and organs within the abdomen, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those on dialysis are at increased risk for it.
"The family is asking for people of all faith traditions to be in prayer today for Baby A.J.," the family's attorney, Mawuli Davis, said in a statement Sunday. "His spirit is strong but his body is weakening."