In 2013, then-15-year-old Anthony Stokes was dying and desperately needed a heart transplant that he couldn’t get because, according to doctors, he had “a history of noncompliance.”
Stokes’s family suspected that his low grades and a history of trouble with the law gave doctors reason to believe that he would not be willing to take his medicine or show up at subsequent doctor’s visits. The Georgia teen’s story story sparked outrage, and the hospital quickly reversed its decision, giving him priority on the transplant list.
But two years later, after he received a transplant, Stokes’s “second chance” has come to an abrupt end.
Tuesday afternoon, Stokes died after a stolen vehicle he was driving jumped a curb, hit a pedestrian and collided with a pole in a car chase with police, according to WSBTV.
The pedestrian was hospitalized for her injuries, and Stokes’s car was nearly split in half by the sign, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Police said he had to be cut out of the Honda by first responders and rushed to a hospital, where he died around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.
“He lost control and there was a long set of skid marks,” Roswell Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Holland told WXIA.
According to Holland, Stokes was driving a car that matched the description of one used by a person suspected of breaking into an elderly woman’s home. The chase began after officers responding to her 911 call attempted to pull Stokes over, according to WXIA.
“We haven’t really connected that he was the person who did the burglary,” she said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “He may have been running from something else.”
But Holland told the Washington Post on Wednesday afternoon that Stokes is a suspect in the burglary, which involved an 81-year old woman. The suspect allegedly broke into the woman’s home and fired a a gun at her but nothing was stolen from the home.
“She was an 81 years old inside the house and he surprised her and I think she surprised him too because he shot at her,” Holland said.
When Stokes was first diagnosed, he was initially given less than a year to live without a transplant, according to the Journal-Constitution:
Anthony suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, fails to pump enough blood. The condition is generally treated with medications or devices such as pacemakers before a transplant is considered.
But a heart transplant procedure requires strict adherence to a medicinal regimen and careful monitoring to prevent the body from rejecting the new heart. Doctors also evaluate whether patients have the support they would need to aid in the recovery process after surgery, experts told CNN.
It is unclear what exactly caused doctors to change their assessment of Stokes two years ago, but he told WSBTV that he viewed the opportunity as a chance to start over.
The transplant allowed him to “live a second chance. Get a second chance and do things I want to do,” he said.
This post has been updated.