UNC grad performs Jimmy Kimmel's son's life-saving heart surgery

WTVD logo
Friday, May 5, 2017
Vaughn A. Starnes, MD
Vaughn A. Starnes, MD
Credit: Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel shared an emotional story about his son, who was recently born with a life-threatening heart problem. ABC11 learned Friday that the surgeon who saved the baby's life is a UNC alumnus.

Dr. Vaughn Starnes earned his chemistry degree in 1973 and later graduated from UNC's medical program in 1977, according to the UNC General Alumni Association.

Dr. Starnes completed two years at Stanford University as a resident in cardiovascular surgery and one year as chief resident in cardiac transplantation. He accepted a fellowship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in London.

When he returned to Stanford, he was appointed the director of Stanford's heart-lung transplantation program. In 1990, Dr. Starnes performed the world's first lobar transplant using a lung segment from a living donor. Three years later, he performed the first live-donor, double-lobar lung transplant on a patient with cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Starnes is currently a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Read more about Dr. Starnes' career here.

During Jimmy Kimmel's monolog where he announced his son's birth, he thanked the nurses, doctors, and staff who helped William, his son, and urged his audience to donate to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.