'Most Scary, Terrifying Thing': Jimmy Kimmel's Son's Surgeon Says His Heart Defect 'Caught Them By Surprise'

Jimmy Kimmel's son's surgeon is sharing new details about the 7-year-old's heart condition

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 18:31:09 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 18:31:09

Jimmy Kimmel's son's surgeon is sharing new details about the 7-year-old's heart condition.

In a new interview with Good Morning America, Dr. Vaughn A. Starnes opened up about Kimmel's son Billy's heart defect, which the surgeon said that the late-night host and his wife Molly McNearney did not know about until after Billy was born. Dr. Starnes got permission from Kimmel to do the interview.

"It caught them by surprise," Dr. Starnes began. "They thought Billy was going to be perfectly normal and was until two or three hours after delivery. That's when the nurse noted that the child was somewhat blue and sounded the alarms."

The doctor noted that the experience has "got to be the most scary, terrifying thing that a parent goes through."

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Dr. Starnes explained that Billy has a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart condition where four different heart defects affect normal blood flow through the heart. This causes oxygen-poor blood to be circulated through the body and can typically require surgical intervention in infancy or early childhood.

Noting that Billy had a "very severe form" of the condition, Dr. Starnes said the young boy "had no connection between the right ventricle."

At the end of May, Kimmel shared that his son Billy had undergone his third open-heart surgery. The comedian shared a photo of his son smiling in a hospital bed, revealing in hisInstagramcaption that -

he had undergone another open heart surgery over the weekend. Billy wasborn with a congenital heart diseasein 2017.

"This weekend, our boy Billy had his third (of three, we hope) open heart surgery. We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid," began Kimmel, who went on to thank all of Billy's doctors, nurses and other "hard-working" staff at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"Walking around this hospital, meeting parents at their most vulnerable, children in pain and the miracle workers who do everything in their considerable power to save them is a humbling experience. We hope you never need CHLA, but if you do - know that they help families regardless of their ability to pay, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act (another salute to the late Senator John McCain), generous donations from companies like Disney, which I am proud to work for and especially from generous people like you," he continued.

A month prior, Kimmel reflected on Billy's previousopen-heart surgeriesas hecelebrated his 7th birthday.

On April 21, Kimmel showed his admiration onInstagramfor the doctors and staff at CHLA for the work they did on his son.

“Billy turns 7 today and is doing great thanks to the doctors, nurses, therapists and staff at@ChildrensLA&@CedarsSinai,” Kimmel wrote. “Billy is asking friends 'to give $7 because I’m seven to help kids in the hospital.' (he also wants a spy kit) His goal is 'to raise $100 to help sick kids.' If you’d like to donate - thank you and link in bio.”

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