Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has tearfully opened up about his newborn son’s illness and near brush with death. At the end of his emotional monologue, Kimmel made a plea for people to support the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, reports BBC.
“It was a scary story and, before I go into it, I want you to know it has a happy ending,” said Kimmel, trying to fight back tears while addressing the audience.
Jimmy Kimmel recalled how his newborn son, William John, nicknamed Billy, was born 10 days ago. Nothing seemed amiss at first until his son Billy turned a shade of purple three hours after birth.
One nurse noticed it and took the newborn into another room to administer more checks. Before long, the medical staff discovered that the baby had a heart illness. Billy was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
At only three days old, Billy went through open heart surgery. Dr. Vaugh Starnes, a distinguished surgeon from the hospital, successfully remedied the valve issue in a manner Jimmy Kimmel described as magic.
Jimmy said the experience was “the longest three hours of my life.”
Kimmel showed the audience a heartbreaking photo of Billy connected to tubes and medical equipment, and then showed another photo, this time of the newborn smiling and looking healthy.
“Poor kid, not only did he get a bad heart, he got my face,” joked Kimmel.
It wasn’t until six days until Billy was released from the hospital. Kimmel said that the baby was “doing great” since then. He then showed the audience a photo of his family — showing himself, his wife, their 2-year-old daughter Jane, and a beaming Billy.
Jimmy Kimmel read through the names of doctors and medical staff who assisted his family throughout the process.
“We had atheists praying for us,” Kimmel joked. “Even that son of a bi**h Matt Damon sent flowers.”
Kimmel said Billy will undergo another surgery within six months to repair the valve. He will undergo a final surgery to have the valve replaced once he is a teenager.
At the end of his monologue, he urged the audience to support the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying that every American should be able to receive healthcare, no matter what their economic status is.
“You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you wouldn’t be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said.
“If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied.”
Breaking down in tears, Jimmy Kimmel said that “no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”
President Donald Trump made an attempt to repeal Obamacare and proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health. The Congress, however, voted to call for increased funding. It was only a few days ago when Trump declared Obamacare “dead,” as reported by Fox News.
“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?” Kimmel added.
“This isn’t football. There are no teams; we are the team. No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen, not here.”
Jimmy Kimmel then announced he will take a paternity leave for the rest of the week to be with his family. His friends will be hosting the show until his return.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]