Jimmy Kimmel tearfully recounts newborn son’s heart surgery

Jimmy Kimmel tearfully recounts newborn son's heart surgery

LOS ANGELES — A tearful Jimmy Kimmel turned his show’s monologue into an emotional recounting of his newborn son’s open-heart surgery — and a plea that all American families get the life-saving medical care they need.

“It was a scary story and before I go into it, I want you to know it has a happy ending,” Kimmel assured ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” studio audience Monday as he detailed how his son’s routine birth last week suddenly turned frightening.

Several hours after his wife, Molly, gave birth April 21 to William John, a “very attentive” nurse at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center alerted the couple and doctors to the baby’s purple-ish colour and an apparent heart murmur, the host said.

The baby’s lack of oxygen was either due to a lung problem or, worst-case scenario, heart disease, Kimmel said, and it was determined to be the latter.

“It’s a very terrifying thing,” he said. He was surrounded at the hospital by very worried-looking people, “kind of like right now,” he told the audience, one of the jokes he managed despite choking up and having to pause at times.

A sonogram showed his son was born with holes in the wall separating the right and left sides of the heart and a blocked pulmonary valve, Kimmel said. The baby, nicknamed Billy, was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to undergo surgery to open the valve.

“The longest three hours of my life,” Kimmel said.

Billy will have another open-heart surgery within six months to repair the openings and then a third procedure when he’s a young teen, but he came home six days after the surgery and is “doing great,” Kimmel said. He shared photos of him with his wife, their 2-year-old daughter Jane and a smiling Billy.

After thanking by name the nurses, doctors and staff at the two hospitals, along with his colleagues and friends — “Even that (expletive) Matt Damon sent flowers,” Kimmel said of his faux rival — the comedian then gave an impassioned speech on health care.

He criticized President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health and praised Congress for instead calling for increased funding.

“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. … Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?” he said.

Washington politicians meeting on health care need to “understand that very clearly,” he said. Partisan squabbles shouldn’t divide American on something “every decent person wants. We need to take care of each other.”

Kimmel said he would skip the rest of this week’s shows to be with his family while guest hosts take his place.

He was joined Monday by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was a previously scheduled guest but jumped in to offer an illustrated description of Billy Kimmel’s heart problem. Also on the show at Kimmel’s request was Shaun White, the Olympic gold medal snowboarder who discussed overcoming the same heart defect as Kimmel’s son.

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert Smithson of Smithson Employment Law Corporation presents a $10,000 donation to the Habitat for Humanity Okanagan’s Kelowna ReStore. (Contributed)
Habitat for Humanity’s Lake Country build gets $10,000 boost

“I couldn’t be more pleased to offer my support,” says Kelowna employment lawyer Robert Smithson

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

The District of Lake Country’s wildfire reduction work near Beaver Lake dam will repurpose ground debris for firewood to warm Okanagan Indian Band seniors’ homes. (District of Lake Country)
Lake Country to keep Okanagan Indian Band seniors warm through winter

‘Ironic and satisfying’ repurposed wood from fuel management project to provide heat: OKIB Chief

The North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society is seeking a letter of support from the City of Vernon ahead of its provincial grant application to establish a 37-space daycare facility to serve the Indigenous population. (submitted photo)
Organization looks to bring urban Indigenous daycare to Vernon

North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society seeks letter of support from city ahead of grant application

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Copies of an unsolicited newspaper have been reported arriving in mailboxes in Lavington and Predator Ridge among other municipalities across British Columbia. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
LETTER: Questionable newspaper appears in mailboxes

‘I would suggest people do their own research of this ‘newspaper’ before subscribing to it,’ Morning Star reader says

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read