Why Emory may be waiting on a transplant for 2-year-old with perfect match dad

Two-year-old AJ Burgess was rushed to the emergency room for a peritonitis infection. He's the boy awaiting a kidney transplant at Emory. 11Alive medical expert Dr. Sujatha Reddy explains what it is.

The story about a 2-year-old left waiting for a kidney transplant after his dad violated his probation has gained international attention.

Many are asking why his hospital decided to delay the procedure for three months instead of allowing his father, who is a perfect match according to family, to donate earlier this month.

MORE | 2-year-old denied kidney transplant rushed to emergency room

A.J. was born without kidneys and doctors say it's rare that he survived past infancy. Emory Hospital told the family he would have to provide evidence of "good behavior" for the next three to four months before they would permit him to donate his kidney to his son. They said they would re-evaluate the situation in January 2018, but the family fears that may be too late.

Over the weekend, AJ was taken to the emergency room for a peritonitis infection, a serious infection that impacts all of the abdominal organs. His family shared this picture of him in his hospital bed.

Because of patient confidentiality laws, Emory cannot comment on this family's story directly. While she does not know what is in the father and son's medical history, medical correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy offered perspective, speculating what concerns Emory could be dealing with.

"I think they're concerned that as he's been in jail, perhaps he may have been exposed to infections and they want to sort of wait and make sure that he's healthy because this is probably a one-shot deal for A.J. and they want to make sure they do this transplant under the best circumstances," she said.

Reddy said she thinks Emory's transplant team is keeping A.J.'s best interest in mind even though their decision to delay the transplant is puzzling for many.

"What he has is very rare but it's an incredibly serious birth defect so I'm sure the transplant team is here to make sure they're helping A.J...I think they're really doing everything to make sure this transplant has the best chances of succeeding because this is the best chance to save AJ's life," she said. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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