Bret Baier’s Family Shares Terrifying News

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Paul, the sixteen-year-old son of Fox News journalist Bret Baier, has had his fifth open cardiac surgery.

The circumstances that led to Paul’s urgent surgery started off subtly. Apart from their headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Baier family frequently lived in Palm Beach, Florida, where Paul was staying when he had what appeared to be a common cold. Amy Baier took precautionary measures after consulting a doctor because she was worried about her son, who has a history of cardiac issues.

Their doctor initially suspected that Paul had rhinovirus, which is a common concern when a patient exhibits cold symptoms. However, given his lengthy medical history, Paul was recommended to get a chest X-ray. Paul had more than a dozen surgeries throughout his life due to a variety of medical issues, including his first open-heart surgery as a newborn and further procedures at 10 months, 6 years, and 13 years of age. Paul was born with five congenital heart abnormalities.

Paul reminisced on his journey and offered his sincere thanks with PEOPLE, saying, “I’m so grateful to have the community I have, and to have my life.” Five hours can bring about a lot of change.

“Dr. Stein was very thorough and before we left, she said, ‘Let’s do a chest X-ray, just to be sure everything’s okay,'” said Brett’s wife, Amy. Paul’s X-ray showed what looked to be tissue on his lungs, so Dr. Stein forwarded the pictures to his cardiologist in Washington, D.C. The cardiologist suggested Paul obtain an MRI a few days later. When Paul and his father got back to Washington, they expected a routine check-up. The outcomes, nevertheless, were shocking.

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“The MRI comes back, and they sit me down and say, ‘This is a really big deal. This is an aneurysm the size of a golf ball that has formed off of his heart,’” Bret shared. Bret, who hosts Special Report on Fox News and is the network’s chief political anchor, added that there was uncertainty about the aneurysm’s stability, but its rupture could be immediately life-threatening. The medical team urgently suggested that Paul undergo open-heart surgery the following day.

In his interview with PEOPLE, Bret recounted the moment he told Paul about the medical situation. “He thought I was joking at first, then he absorbed it and said, ‘Okay, let’s do what we need to do,’” he said. “He’s always been that warrior, but this was a big one to absorb.”

“As he rolled away on the gurney, it was pretty tough. Very emotional,” Bret shared. The wait during the surgery was nearly unbearable, lasting about 10 hours. Fortunately, the surgery to remove the aneurysm was successful, and doctors are optimistic that it will be Paul’s final open-heart operation. Just five days later, Paul was ready to leave the hospital. Bret captured a poignant moment, taking one last photo of his son at Children’s National Hospital before they headed home.

Speaking with PEOPLE, Paul reported that his recuperation is going well and that things are “going pretty smoothly.” It’s important to be thankful for everything you have, every second of every day.”

 

 

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