When Jimmy Kimmel’s second son was born on April 21, elation soon turned to despair when Kimmel and his wife Molly McNeary learned that William John “Billy” Kimmel would need open-heart surgery.
“He appeared a normal healthy baby,” said Kimmel during an opening monologue on his late-night talk show, after returning from paternity leave. As he spoke, he fought back tears recalling what happened next.
Three hours after the birth, while the new parents and Billy were recuperating in the recovery room, a nurse discovered something wrong with Billy.
“My wife was in bed relaxing. A very attentive nurse at Cedars-Sinai heard a murmur in his heart and noticed he was a bit purple, which is not common,” said Kimmel.
He quickly learned that Billy was not getting enough oxygen in his blood, “either in his heart or lungs. … It’s a terrifying thing, you know,” he said.
The following Monday morning, Billy underwent open-heart surgery.
The heart surgeon who led the operation explained to Kimmel and his wife that their son was born with a congenital heart disease known as tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, according to People.
Kimmel explained to his audience what such a condition means for his son. “Basically, the pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart.”
This means that Billy will face another open-heart surgery in three to six months, followed by a third non-invasive surgery in his early teens.
“Poor kid. Not only did he get a bad heart, he got my face,” Kimmel joked lightheartedly.