In a tearful monologue in which he revealed the harrowing moment he learned his newborn son William had a heart defect, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel thanked his family, friends, medical staff and even the atheists who prayed as he weathered through his son's successful heart surgery at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles last week.
In the 13-minute monologue that has gone viral, Kimmel revealed on his show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that just three days after William's birth on April 21, he had to undergo emergency open-heart surgery.
Kimmel explained that shortly after his son was born, a nurse at the hospital, who he named along with other medical staff, noticed that William "was a bit purple."
"The room started to fill up. More doctors, nurses, and equipment started coming in and they determined that he wasn't getting enough oxygen into his blood. It's a terrifying thing," Kimmel explained.
He then recounted the emotional ordeal his family went through before eventually getting the required surgery with expert help. William is now expected to do two more surgeries to correct the defect.
"They didn't do everything. He'll have to have another open heart surgery in 3-6 months to close those holes but they want to wait until he is bigger and then he'll have the third hopefully non-invasive procedure sometime maybe in his early teens to replace the valve he has now," Kimmel said before showing pictures of his son on the day of the surgery and nearly a week after the surgery.
He then went through an emotional list of people, including his family and medical staff, who helped his family through the surgery.
"We had atheists praying for us, OK," he said. "We had people who do not believe in God praying to Him and I hate to even say it — even that son of a [expletive] Matt Damon sent flowers."
"And I want to say one other thing, President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health and thank God our congressmen made a deal last night to not go along with that. They actually increased funding by $2 billion and I applaud them for doing that," he said, explaining that more than 40 of the people who would have been affected by the cuts were children.
He also slammed the idea that people should be denied access to health insurance coverage or coverage for pre-existing health problems.
"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 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition," he said.
"If your baby is going to die, and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?" he continued.
"This isn't football. There are no teams. We are the team, it's the United States. Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants," he said.