The Power Of Storytelling: Nurses Saving Lives

Jimmy Kimmel brought the media world to it’s empathetic knees with his tearful personal story about a “Nurse” assessing his newborn son’s color was blue tinged instead of the normal newborn pink. She quickly took action, which saved the newborn’s life. He was later diagnosed with Tetralogy Of Fallot and treated at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles.

It was a great story and I felt much empathy for the Kimmel’s. Having worked at CHLA, as a PNP, I’ve assessed many “Tet” kids myself before their surgical interventions. It  amazed me how they could be happy kids playing and laughing with an oxygen saturation somewhere in the 80’s to high 70’s and yes they were “blue!” The cardiac NP’s were always amazing with these kids and their families. And yes, CHLA has one of the best Cardiac Doc’s and Nurses in the world!

Although Jimmy’s story showed he’s human, it brought awareness to Tetraology of Fallot, and best of all he acknowledged a nurse saving his son’s life!

Tetralogy of Fallot results in low oxygenation of blood due to the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the left ventricle via the ventricular septal defect (VSD) and preferential flow of the mixed blood from both ventricles through the aorta because of the obstruction to flow through the pulmonary valve.

 He also brought media attention to our healthcare apocalypse. But he did share some erroneous information. He stated: “Before 2014, children with a cardiac illness who were not affluent, could not get surgery?” Again, I’ve been in healthcare for 20 years, and I’ve never seen a child in California be denied life saving cardiac surgery because they had no insurance. And yes many of them did have insurance… it’s called Medical!

But nonetheless… Washington’s attention was peaked:

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney responded Wednesday to a heartfelt appeal to lawmakers by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that children not be denied care because of pre-existing conditions – with Mulvaney saying he agrees, and Republicans aren’t looking to kick people off their health care.

“Everyone, I think, agrees with Jimmy Kimmel that we have enough money in this country to provide care for those type of folks,” he told “Fox & Friends.”

Yes, “those type of folks” need help. Excuse me Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, but after working in healthcare for a bit over 20 years with the majority of that spent in Pediatrics… “Those type of folks” are all of us! Duh!

I know, saying “Duh” is unprofessional! My excuse is I’ve spent 20 years in Peds… and really! Disease processes do not pick and choose who they affect. Everyone is affected! I’ve taken care of celebrities, middle class, and indigent people. “Those type of folks,” are all of us. Which is why all human beings living on the face of the planet earth should get the best medical attention. It’s a no brainer. But people in politics these days seem to have no brains… What can I say?

Kimmel also brought on Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, whom was  diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot at birth.

“Similar situation, I was just slowly turning blue and my parents knew something was up,” White told the late-night host. “The doctors came in and found out that was the scenario, the heart condition.”

From the time he was born, the 30-year-old has had three surgeries and has to undergo stress tests with his doctor every few years. White says he was fortunate enough to not have needed an artificial valve, which would eventually need to be replaced.

Thankfully for White, his parents gave him the freedom to be physical and explore sports despite his condition. And now he’s in training for his fourth Olympic run in Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

I’ve counseled several parents of children with “Tet.” Even a frazzled co worker. Their main concerns were about physical activities and sports. I always offered reassurance: “Kids need to be kids and play.” And every kid has their normal. It’s good to have open communication with your cardiac team.

The story, the recognition for the Nurse, and the Olympain made a huge impact. It made the story REAL! However, next to the “no brainer” politico, I do have another issue. The fact that celebrity doctor “Doctor Oz,” came on the show. For some reason I’ve always thought he was a neurosurgeon? But apparently he’s a cardio thoracic surgeon. Perhaps it’s the “Mandela Effect” that has me a bit confused.  Yes, he has a medical show, but really… Bring the Nurse that assessed the baby on, or the cardiac team from CHLA… Unfortunately, I got lost at Doctor OZ!


But hey that’s main stream media!