Last night Jimmy Kimmel shocked his viewers when he announced that his newborn son, William John Kimmel born on April 21st was born with a congenital heart disease called, Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia.
The disorder happens because of a structural problem with the heart. Tetralogy of Fallot is caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control, the defects are:
A hole in the wall between the two lower chamber – or ventricles – of the heart. This condition also is called a ventricular septal defect.
A narrowing of the pulmonary valve and main pulmonary artery. This condition also is called pulmonary stenosis.
The aortic valves, which opens to the aorta, is enlarged and seems to open from both ventricles, rather than from the left ventricle only.
The muscular wall of the lower right chamber of the heart (right ventricle) is thicker than normal. This also is called ventricular hypertrophy.
The day that Billy was born everything seemed normal until a nurse heard a murmur in his heart which is common in newborn babies, but she also noticed that he was a bit purple, which is not common. They determined that he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood, which is when Kimmel thought there might be something wrong with his lungs or his heart. “It’s hard to explain, basically the pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart,” explains Kimmel.
On Monday morning the baby had open-heart surgery to fix one of the two defects in his heart. “[The surgeon] opened the valve and the operation was a success, it was the longest three hours of my life,” he says. Unfortunately, it’s not over for Billy because he will have to have another open-heart surgery in three to six months to close those holes, but they want to wait until he’s bigger, and then he’ll have a third, hopefully non-invasive procedure sometime in his early teens to replace the valve he has now. Six days later they were able to bring him home and he’s doing great says, Kimmel. See him relive this heart-breaking experience:
He also shed light on the $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health, but luckily congressmen stepped in and blocked his proposal and increased funding by $2 billion. “More than 40% of the people who would’ve been affected by those cuts to the National Institute of Health are children and it would have a major impact on a lot of great places, including Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, which is so unbelievably sad to me,” explains Kimmel. “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.”
Before Obamacare, if you were born with a pre-existing condition like, congenital heart disease like his son was, there was a good chance a person would’ve never been able to get health insurance. “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” he explains. “I saw a lot of families there, and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It shouldn’t happen. Not here.”
Thankfully, baby Billy is doing well and is in good spirits as seen here: