A Georgia teen who received a life-saving heart transplant two years ago has died after a car accident during a high-speed chase with police.
Anthony Stokes, 17, got a second chance at life when he received a heart transplant at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 2013, Daily Mail reports.
He suffered from a dilated cardiomyopathy. The condition weakens the heart’s ability to pump enough blood throughout the body. It can lead to blood clots, irregular heartbeats or heart failure.
Doctors gave him six to nine months to live and did not place him on the waiting list for a new organ. Their reasoning was that they believed Stokes would be “noncompliant” in taking medications.
According to the Daily Mail, hospitals can disqualify a patient from receiving a transplant if they doubt the patient will stick to the medication regimen following the procedure.
The hospital said it did not put Stokes on the waiting list because he had failed to take his medication in the past. But family and friends weren’t buying it.
Stokes' mother, Melencia Hamilton, told reporters she believed her son had been stereotyped as a troubled teen by the hospital. She believed his low grades and run-ins with the law were the real reason the hospital didn’t put him on the waiting list.
Stokes' family and civil rights groups put pressure on the hospital and soon the incident received national media attention. The hospital eventually decided to give Stokes the transplant in August 2013.
Two years after his successful heart transplant, Stokes starting getting into trouble with the law again.
According to DeKalb County jail, he was arrested on January 10 and charged with possession of tools for the commission of a crime and criminal attempt. Stokes posted the $5,000 bail on Feb. 3 and was released.
On March 31, Georgia police received a phone call about shots fired in a Roswell residence.
Stokes allegedly put on a mask and kicked in an elderly woman’s doors and started shooting at her as she watched television in her home, CBS 46 reports.
The elderly woman was not harmed but police found bullet holes on her walls. A black car was seen driving away from the scene. Police spotted a vehicle that matched the description and took chase.
During the chase, Stokes reportedly clipped a car on an intersection and ran into the curb. He knocked down a 33-year-old woman before crashing into a pole in front of a bank, police said.
The pedestrian, Clementina Hernandez, was taken to the hospital and is reportedly in good condition. Stokes died at the hospital.
The crash is still under investigation. The vehicle Stokes was driving had been reported missing from Dunwoody.
In speaking with WSB-TV in 2013, Stokes said he was excited for another chance at life.
“So I can live a second chance,” he said. “Get a second chance and do the things I want to do.”
Photo Credit: Screen Capture Via Daily Mail