Jimmy Kimmel reveals newborn son’s health condition

Jimmy Kimmel reveals newborn son’s health condition

Jimmy Kimmel’s revelation of his newborn son’s heart defect and resulting open-heart surgery has brought additional awareness to congenital heart defects this week.

Congenital heart defects – problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth – are the most common type of birth defect, affecting 8 in 1,000 U.S. newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

There are many types of congenital heart defects, ranging from simple issues with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Kimmel’s son, William “Billy” Kimmel, was diagnosed with tetralogy of fallot and pulmonary atresia, a rare condition in which the pulmonary valve is blocked and a hole appears in the heart wall. He was just three days old when he underwent successful open heart surgery, Kimmel explained Monday in an emotional monologue on his show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The video was the top trending video on YouTube Tuesday; Kimmel’s story – and his appeal to politicians to ensure access to health coverage is available to all with preexisting conditions – also was trending on Twitter.

Now recovering at home, the baby will need a second surgery in three months, Kimmel said, and another in his early teens but is expected to lead a normal life.

“More so than any other point in history, the future is bright today for children born with heart defects,” said Dr. Joseph Forbess, chief pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Advocate Children’s Hospital and co-director of the Advocate Children’s Heart Institute. “Diagnosis and treatments have advanced and will continue to do so, resulting in better outcomes for even the tiniest and most fragile newborns.”

Dr. Forbess hopes that by Kimmel sharing his story, more people will become educated about congenital heart disease and the need for additional funding and research.

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  1. Howard Baitcher May 3, 2017 at 11:29 am · Reply

    But our current administration does not care nor do they have any sympathy for those in need. All they care about is money (theirs) and how much they can get from us. As you have heard on the fake news, they want to do away with current health plans and allow the insurance companies to charge us whatever they feel like.

    • One of the features of the administration’s plan was preexisting conditions would be covered and not keep a person from getting health insurance.

      Interesting that you reference ‘fake news’ stating the administration wanting to do away with current health plans and allow insurance companies free reign over premiums.

      We don’t have enough information to draw any conclusions – but we do know that the current healthcare plan in place is not viable. Deductibles are too high and people can’t afford the ever-increasing premiums.

      Hopefully cool heads will prevail and either the ACA will be amended to make it workable OR a new plan will be passed to allow everyone access to good health care at reasonable premiums and affordable deductibles.

      I surely wish it was less politics and more TAKING CARE OF THE PEOPLE. There’s enough blame for BOTH sides of the aisle.

  2. I watched the entire monologue and it’s important to note that Kimmel made a very appropriate connection to the health care bill dilemma and the problems of pre-existing conditions and health insurance coverage. As he so poignantly said – no parent should have to worry that they cannot afford to life-saving surgery for their child!

  3. This article is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the medical profession. You used Jimmy Kimmel’s heartfelt plea for continued support of the ACA to promote yourselves. I would be so much more impressed if Advocate said they would make a pledge to never turn away a patient based on race, religion, or ability to pay. You never addressed the central claim or Kimmel’s monolog. Kimmel got it so right. Advocate got this so wrong. Sad, very sad.

  4. Oh, let’s get into this!!! Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). No matter whether that child had the best medical coverage, as Kimmel’s son had, or no insurance AT ALL, as the majority of children who are treated there have, they are treated with the best possible care available. That includes the use of this very prestigious pediatric surgeon that treated Kimmel’s son. How can they do this considering that not all patients are paying? Charity! The charitable donations of the community allow this hospital to thrive, not some governmental edict that insurance companies must insure people with pre-existing conditions. The fact is the Affordable Care Act is wreaking havoc on both medical institutions AND insurance companies. I don’t know about everyone else but I’m not happy about the increased costs to my insurance… does anyone stop to think why this might be happening or correlate the fact that under Obamacare pre-existing conditions must now be covered and suddenly premiums are increasing? Advocate, the healthcare organization people are currently commenting on, is a similar such hospital. I would like ANYONE to point out a single man, woman, or child that has been turned down for life saving services due to their financial or insurance status by an Advocate Hospital. And I will extend that to any other 501(c)(3) hospital, any in the United States. Prior to Obama there were not a bunch of people dying in the streets because they couldn’t seek medical attention due to lack of money or insurance… that trend would have continued without Obamacare, and even under this current administration who “all they care about is money (theirs) and how much they can get from us.” Which is a ridiculous statement that I do not have the time to get into. But no parent has ” to worry that they cannot afford to life-saving surgery for their child”, not in this country.

    • Vivienne Campbell May 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm · Reply

      You are absolutely right. Before Obamacare people could always go to an emergency room without insurance. What happened, as it did my husband and I, our ins for years was $170.00 per month when Obamacare hit it went to $840.00. We could no longer afford ins and at our age 63, it is cheaper to pay the fine than the ins and it did the same to my sisters and several people we know. Our health system without any Obamacare is one of, if not the best in the world.
      Hell, illegal aliens get free medical attention in this country. Try that anywhere else in the world….

  5. You are correct about Children’s. I know. I spent many a long night there with my son. Some of his roommates were wards of the state. The doctors and nurses treated them with the same dignity and respect they treated us. The staff at Children’s are angels sent from heaven.

    Before ACA, I knew people who were denied insurance, including my own family, because of my son’s pre-existing condition.

    I also know people, not my family, who were refused treatment by doctors and hospitals because of the lack of insurance. I actually witnessed, in an emergency room, a patient without insurance being told they had to pre-pay for services before they could be treated.

    And I knew other people who were uninsured that were treated and received bills that they could not afford to pay and wound up in bankruptcy court, losing their homes to pay for medical bills.

    501 c 3 looks good on paper. But, it hasn’t worked out that way for the people in my world. And no, I am not a homeless person, I am a public school teacher. My husband is an engineer with a Fortune 500 petrochemical company. He has been there for 35 years. He stayed all those years because before the ACA if he secured a new position, our insurance would exclude pre-existing conditions for a period of 1 – 2 years. My son would have no coverage.

    I am a teacher, but contrary to popular belief, teachers in many districts are not provide health insurance for employee’s families. We are charged $1.000 – 1,500 per month for family benefits, and until ACA pre-existing conditions were excluded.

    I realize the ACA did not make everyone’s life better, but it sure improved the quality of life for many people I know.

    • First I would like to say that I am sorry to hear of the difficulties that you and your family have experienced obtaining health care coverage. I do understand that there are some companies who’s insurance providers do screen family members when a new employee signs up for benefits. This is something I disagree with for one simple reason, the idea of being part of a large group of insured people means that the company has a guaranteed income based on the volume of healthy people, so the expense of a single individual drawing benefits with a pre-existing condition should be negligible. That is just an opinion but seems to be supported by the numbers. As far the people you knew or overheard in waiting rooms, where these hospital non-profits? Because if they were private hospitals then they do have the right to refuse service to anyone who cannot pay. My brother went in for a procedure at a hospital that was for profit, with no insurance, and came out with a huge bill for an unnecessary MRI. He spent a lot of time in court because he was unable to pay. Non-profits don’t have the option of turning people away because they get tax breaks and benefits for taking everyone. But, in the current system, there is no alternative than to increase the costs of insurance for everyone, and I don’t think that’s right. Because my first thought is, “What about me?”, which is interesting because I’m contending with a person who is saying, “What about my family”, and that reminds me of something Milton Friedman once said, “Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.” So, I understand that you aren’t going to be worried about the costs imposed on people like me, as long as your son is receiving the treatment that he requires, but I would have you consider this… if the shoe were on the other foot, would you be all that interested in helping to subsidize my healthcare costs? Perhaps you are extremely altruistic but I can’t imagine that that would be very easy on a teacher’s salary – which, thank you for being a teacher… people thank the troops for their service all the time but teaching is one of the most marginalized and underpaid professions and I think you all should be thanked for you accolades as well – but that is essentially what the ACA is doing to many of us. There wasn’t much I agreed with Obama on, but healthcare reform is something we did agree on, I just don’t care for the solution.

  6. While this is a nice update on Advocate’s capabilities related to congenital heart defects, unfortunately the article missed an opportunity to cover the big picture, namely, the enormous risks faced by patients with all kinds of pre-existing conditions if the proposed Republican health plan were to be enacted. Why not use your marketing communications to address Advocate’s position on how it as a provider network will be impacted once thousands of Chicago-area residents are priced out of medical insurance? This would be a great opportunity to let your readers know Advocate’s thoughts on a matter of great interest in your service area.

  7. It is interesting to note the American Medical Association A strong statement against the current form of the ACA currently being considered in the House of Representatives. They are concerned that many people will not be able get the health care they need.

  8. I am very thankful to hear your son was provided such outstanding care at all of the medical institutions to interfaced with. Your comments of thankfulness to them are to be commended so often times people forget to say thank you. However what is missing is to thank the one the one that gives life and that is our Heavenly Father.
    You were able to witness a true miracle by the grace of God.

  9. I Agree with you Justin

  10. While it is a horrible tragedy to see one’s child suffer. .Kimmel has.been extraordinarIly blessed in his life.How about the teaming suffering masses..who have horrible lives. .8m not crying for Jimmy

  11. It’s too bad many of you did not see the good in The Affordable Care Act. If you think your insurance will be lowered with the current administration, Think again. ACA was a start. It can be improved, but it brought a lot of care to those who had none, including retired and insured.
    Good luck to us all for the future administration.

    • ACA certainly would have been “improved”. The steps going forward, as insurance companies continued to drop out of the exchange, is most likely Bernie Sander’s proposed bill to move to a single payer system. I have complaints about my health insurance right now but at least I know if I need something like an MRI, I can get one easily, which isn’t the case in a single payer system. According to a 2016 survey by the Fraser Institute, the median wait times for “medically necessary” treatments was 20 weeks. How do you feel about waiting that long for a procedure that is deemed “medically necessary”? And that is one of the better single payer systems. Ask yourselves, why do people from neighboring countries come to America to seek medical attention and why we are one of the leading countries for medical research (not government funded but privately funded)?

  12. There are two things that I think people should consider: 1) Can you have a house fire then start shopping for homeowner’s insurance and have them pay for the repairs? Or get into a car accident that destroy’s not one but two automobiles, then call an insurance agency and have them issue a policy for you and make a claim on the same day? Or get robbed and then get coverage with renter’s insurance? It seems to me that the ONLY insurance that people want for preexisting conditions is health insurance, but insurance wouldn’t work like that in ANY other situation… so why should it in this situation? 2) Unfortunately, the United States carries one of the most unhealthy groups of people in the world. Yes, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but people seem to be dying of preventable diseases because of poor lifestyle choices… but theses people are in the same group that the ACA covers. The cost to treat people who have made poor health choices, and will continue to make poor health choices, is going to be high. And that cost is going to effect all of us.

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About the Author

Lisa Parro
Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro, health enews contributor, is a content manager for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A former journalist, Lisa has been in health care public relations since 2008 and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She and her family live in Chicago’s western suburbs.