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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

‘The scariest moment of my life’: Hailey Bieber just had heart surgery after being hospitalised last month 


By Sarah Finnan
28th Apr 2022

@haileybieber

‘The scariest moment of my life’: Hailey Bieber just had heart surgery after being hospitalised last month 

The model was rushed to hospital last month after suffering a blood clot in her brain. 

Just over one month on from her sudden hospitalisation and Hailey Bieber is ready to talk about the terrifying experience for the first time. Sharing an almost 13-minute-long video on her Instagram account last night, the model opened up about what exactly happened – describing it as “a very scary incident”. 

“I’m making this video because I wanted to tell this story in my own words,” she began, before going on to detail how she was sitting at breakfast, having a normal day when she suddenly started feeling this “weird sensation” that travelled all the way down from her shoulder to her fingertips. 

“It made my fingertips feel really numb and weird,” she said. Rubbing her fingers together to try to figure out what was happening, things only escalated from there and Hailey’s speech was the next thing to go. “Justin was like, ‘Are you ok?’ and I just didn’t respond because I wasn’t sure and then he asked me again, but when I went to respond, I couldn’t speak. 

“The right side of my face started drooping. I couldn’t get a sentence out, everything was coming out like, not even jumbled, but I just couldn’t get any of the words out. So, obviously immediately I thought I was having a stroke, a full-blown stroke. He thought I was having a stroke, so right away he asked for somebody to please call 911 and get a doctor.”

Thankfully, there was a medic nearby who rushed right over and took control of the situation. Admitting that it was “the scariest moment of [her] life”, Hailey said she had so many things running through her mind at the time. 

“I had so many things running through my head, the number one thing being, ‘I’m having a stroke. I’m really scared. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why this is happening. Am I going to have permanent issues from this?’ Like, so many things were running through my head that were really freaking me out and really, really scaring me.”

The facial drooping only lasted around 30 seconds or so, but her speech was impaired for much longer. “The facial drooping probably lasted for 30 seconds, maybe a little bit more. I couldn’t see myself, of course, so I don’t really know, but I do know that it subsided fairly fast and so they were asking me questions: ‘Do you know where you are? Do you know your name?’ And I knew all of the answers in my head, but as soon as I would try to say it, I just could not get it out. It was like my tongue and my mouth could not form the sentences and the responses, so obviously that was really, really scary.”

Surprisingly, she could still walk “totally fine” at that point though, so she went back to her house with Justin to wait for the ambulance to come. However, by the time she got to the emergency room, she was essentially “back to normal” – scoring a 0 on the stroke checklist.  

Doctors diagnosed her with having a small blood clot in her brain called a TIA (transient ischemic attack). A temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain, it’s often called a “ministroke” and usually foreshadows a full-blown stroke which is caused by a clot or blockage in the brain. Kept in overnight for observation, Hailey has since made a full recovery and won’t have any lasting permanent issues as a result of the TIA. She was found to have a small PFO (potent foramen ovale), or hole in her heart though, and was subsequently sent to UCLA for more thorough testing.

“At that point, they didn’t really have an answer or conclusion for why this had happened,” she explained. Doctors eventually concluded that it was down to a combination of three different factors though.  “I had just recently started birth control pills, which I should’ve never been on because I am someone who suffers from migraines anyway, and I just did not talk to my doctor about this. So, ladies, if you suffer from bad migraines, and you plan on being on birth control pills, make sure you tell your doctor, because having a stroke is a potential side effect from birth control pills. The second thing is I had recently had Covid… and then the third thing is I had recently gone on a very long flight. I had flown to Paris and back in a very short time [without moving around].”

UCLA found that Hailey had a “grade 5 PFO” – the highest grade a person can have – measuring between 12 and 13 millimetres long so the model underwent closure surgery to fix it. “They go through the femoral vein in your groin and they travel up to the heart and they put this small little button that buttons closed the flap in the heart and eventually, the heart tissue grows back over the closure device and that’s it. And you have it forever and you continue on with normal life.”

Everything went “really smoothly” according to the model and she “feels great”. “It’s hard for me to tell this story,” she admitted, “but I felt like it was important for me to share this because it was already a public situation.” 

Justin, also recently spoke of the “really scary” ordeal, telling fans, “It’s kind of crazy how life randomly throws you curveballs”. “You know, we can’t really control much,” he said onstage at one of his Colorado shows. “Obviously, you guys know, most of you probably know or [have] seen the news about my wife. But she’s ok, she’s good. She’s strong.

“It’s been scary, you know? Like, it’s been really scary. But I know for a fact that God has her in the palm of his hands and that’s a good thing.”