Facing mounting pressure and criticism over its refusal to allow a 2-year-old child to receive a kidney from his father, the CEO of Emory Healthcare said on Thursday that the hospital "wants a successful transplant ... and a positive outcome for his father" or any other donor.
"The health challenges of 2-year-old A.J. Burgess have captured the hearts of all of us in Atlanta, and many people around the country," said Dr. Jonathan Lewin. "This courageous and magnetic young boy has kidney failure, and he and his family have bravely battled his health challenges every day of his life.
"The entire Emory community is motivated and engaged to help him secure a healthy future."
Another demonstration was held Thursday for the child who has become known as Baby A.J.. He was was born without kidneys, but has a willing donor who is a 100% match: his father. However, because his father violated his parole, he was denied the transplant.
"We greatly respect the father's desire to become a donor, and we want to work with him to try and make this happen," Lewin said. "The national guidelines for approving a potential organ donor are clear and stringent. When evaluating any potential donor, Emory's medical team is required to consider the ability of the donor to manage the many complications and health challenges that come with a major surgical procedure.
"It is our desire to continue to work with A.J.'s parents to work through this process," Lewins said. "We want a successful transplant for A.J. and we also want a positive outcome for his father or any other potential living donor."
The statement was issued a meeting between Lewin and a group of protestors led by former Atlanta city councilman Derrick Boazman.
After A.J.'s story was shared all over the nation, donors from everywhere poured in. His family is trying to raise the funds to give him the life-saving surgery, as well as asking anyone who can provide assistance with expediting the transplanting process.
"With all that he has faced, A.J. deserves a chance for a full life," Lewin said. "We will continue to work with his parents to find a successful path forward."