Fact Check: 'Baby Kyle' Did NOT Recently Have Heart Surgery And Does NOT Have COVID-19

Fact Check

  • by: Gita Smith
Fact Check: 'Baby Kyle' Did NOT Recently Have Heart Surgery And Does NOT Have COVID-19 Not Baby Kyle

Did a baby named Kyle survive heart surgery only to now suffer from COVID-19, as depicted in a social media post? No, that's not true: A photo purportedly showing the newborn was published in 2014, long before the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the infant's name is Cameron. The child is now almost 8 years old and his family is very upset the photo is being used fraudulently.

The purloined photo appeared in a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on May 16, 2020, under the title "Prayers for Baby Kyle who now has Covid-19." It read:

This is baby Kyle. Few weeks ago He survived an opened heart surgery, And today the doctors confirm That he has Corona Virus, He is not asking for your money, He only want you to help him out, by sharing this post to even if it's 5 different Facebook group

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

This is the shameless abuse of a family's baby photo, posted now to get 'Likes' on Facebook and possibly even to collect donations purportedly for the infant. The page's sponsor, who goes by "The Role of the Holy Spirit," is not related to the child and, according to Facebook's transparency research, the people who manage this page live in Ghana.

The real name of the infant in the photo is Cameron, and he is an active, healthy boy living in New Zealand with his family. See the real child, post-surgery and 16 months old on his mother's page posted on Jan. 14, 2014. The mom, Rachael, told Lead Stories on May 19, 2020, "We are gutted that our precious son has been exploited like this."

The photo originally appeared in a 2014 article by Rachael in New Zealand about the family's life-or-death ordeal that began with a diagnosis during pregnancy of major heart issues in the developing fetus. Infant Cameron's first open-heart surgery was at 5 days old, and the photo that is now being passed off as "Kyle" was taken two days later, in 2014.

"We are mortified to think people can exploit children's photos like this, especially little kids who have been through such a horrendous journey just to have a chance to live," Rachael told Lead Stories. "Cameron, who will turn 8 this year, has had four heart surgeries. One of the groups that used Cameron's photo was called Prayer Request Chapel and from there it's just been shared hundreds of times to who knows where.

"I want people to know that photo is my son, he's not named Kyle, and he doesn't have Covid-19."

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Gita Smith

Gita Smith covered news for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Montgomery Advertiser, and she wrote/edited medical newsletters for American Health Consultants at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic when clear, factual information was as needed. 

For a time, she taught in Auburn University’s journalism department and ran the History-Geography lab at Alabama State University, where she taught students to write research papers . She believes the following to be true: The power of the free press may appear to be a weak reed to lean on, but it separates democracies from juntas.

Read more about or contact Gita Smith

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Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
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