Entertainment

Jimmy Kimmel’s New Baby Survived Heart Surgery at Just a Few Hours Old, and the Story Is Devastating

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Jimmy Kimmel was off the air last week, and he came back last night to explain what had happened and give a heart-wrenching and deeply emotional speech about the birth of his son, Billy, who was born just last week and has already had to undergo heart surgery due to a defect discovered just moments after he was born. Kimmel described it as the worst time of his life and he has difficulty talking about it now, even though he did assure viewers that the story had a happy ending.

During his opening monologue, Kimmel revealed that his baby son was born Friday, April 21, and that it had been an easy, complication-free delivery. Then, not long after he was born, nurses noticed a heart murmur and suspected something was wrong. They thought it might be a bit of fluid in the lungs, which is a relatively tiny problem, but then they did an X-ray that showed the baby’s lungs were fine, and that meant his heart was not.

“So now more doctors and nurses and equipment come in. It’s — it’s a terrifying thing. You know, my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what’s going on. And I’m standing in the middle of a lot of very worried-looking people — kind of like right now — who are trying to figure out what the problem is.”

Kimmel clearly has a difficult time talking about it as he explains that the baby was born with a heart defect where one valve is completely blocked, and there’s a hole in the wall between the sides of his heart.

Kimmel’s baby was born with a heart defect that meant he had to have heart surgery when he was just a couple hours old.

“It was the longest three hours of my life,” Kimmel said.

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Fortunately, the operation was a success. Kimmel’s baby will need another heart surgery in a few months, and then one more when he’s a teenager, but he’s OK.

Kimmel went on to point out that without protection for people with pre-existing conditions, babies born with heart complications might never be able to get health insurance. A baby with a fixable heart problem could blow through its lifetime maximum benefit in just a couple weeks. Kimmel is adamant that is not OK.

“We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until a few years ago millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all,” he said. “You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition and if your parents didn’t have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.”

What do you think of Kimmel’s speech? Let us know in the comments.

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