ATLANTA - The toddler in need of a kidney was released from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
A.J. "Baby A.J." Burgess, 2, contracted pneumonia and a potentially deadly infection called peritonitis and underwent surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments, as well as blood transfusions.
The toddler left Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with his family just before 4 p.m. after spending about a week and a half there.
"I'm just happy I'm leaving with my baby," said Carmellia Burgess, A.J.'s mother.
During his hospital stay, A.J.'s parents and the community called on Emory Healthcare to change their minds about allowing A.J.'s father, Anthony Dickerson, to donate a kidney to his son. A.J. was born without kidneys and must endure nightly dialysis to survive.
Dickerson is a match and had been approved to donate for the transplant in early October. A parole violation and subsequent arrest, however, put the procedure on hold and Emory requested proof of Dickerson's compliance with the terms of his probation for three months before he could be reconsidered.
Attorneys for the family and members of the community held prayer vigils and made public appeals to the hospital not to delay the surgery.
"People still care about children and that they don't want to punish a child for the mistakes of a father and they also see that Mr. Dickerson is a redeemable man and worthy of our support," said attorney Muwali Davis.
According to Davis, after meeting with the family, representatives from Emory have changed course and plan to do everything they can to expedite the surgery.
A.J. will be recovering at home with his family in preparation for a transplant surgery to receive his father's kidney.
The family thanked everyone in the community who has spoken out in support of baby A.J.
"We couldn't have done it without you guys," said Burgess. "Continue to keep us in your prayers--we couldn't get enough of [them]. So, again thank you to everyone who's had our back."
Burgess said doctors believe her son should be healthy enough for a transplant in about two weeks after he completes a round of antibiotics.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the family's medical fund can do so at gofundme.com/single-mother-with-sick-son.