Heart Transplant Recipient Dies Trying to Elude Police in High-Speed Chase

In 2013, the eyes of Atlanta fell on 15-year old Anthony Stokes when Children's Healthcare of Atlanta refused to put him on a heart transplant list due to his prior behavior. Less than two years later, Stokes would die, not from heart problems, but from a car crash while attempting to evade police after an attempted burglary.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta informed Stokes' family in an August 2013 letter that they would not place him on their heart transplant list.

The family of Anthony Stokes on Sunday released to the media an Aug. 7 letter that states, in part, “the decision was made that Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of non-compliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant.”

“As we discussed today with Anthony’s mother, we will not place Anthony on the heart transplant waiting list at this time due to this decision,” the letter continues.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta released a statement to Channel 2 Action News on Sunday that read, “The well-being of our patients is always our first priority. We are continuing to work with this family and looking at all options regarding this patient’s health care. We follow very specific criteria in determining eligibility for a transplant of any kind.”

Family members told Channel 2 that doctors are afraid that Anthony, who has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart, wouldn’t follow the strict regimen of medications and follow-up treatments necessary for a transplant to be successful.

Public outpouring led the hospital to change its mind, according to an August 13, 2013 report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We met with hospital officials about 30 minutes ago,” family spokesman Mark Bell said this afternoon. “After reviewing the situation, they said Anthony would be placed on the list for a heart transplant and that he would be first in line, due to his weakened heart condition.”

After his surgery and recovery, Stokes continued to live the life of a troubled teen. And this week, he committed the crime that would end his life.

Police say a burglary suspect being chased by police struck a pedestrian and then crashed his car.

Police say the man kicked in the door of a home and then shot at a woman during an attempted burglary on Alpine Drive in Roswell Tuesday afternoon.

They said the driver died Tuesday night.

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They said the pedestrian who was struck is Clementina Hernandez, 33, of Roswell.

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Hernandez was taken to North Fulton Hospital. She is stable in good condition.

Crews had to cut Stokes from his car, which was nearly cut in half by the pole. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.