Friends, family, and fans are praying tonight for the Red Dirt Legend Brandon Jenkins who is currently in a hospital with his chest still open from open heart surgery, fighting for his life after complications in surgery have left him in “extremely critical” condition.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native first entered the hospital after discovering he was suffering from a major heart issue in early February. After running numerous tests, it was determined Jenkins needed a new heart valve, and surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, February 21st in Nashville to be performed by cardiac surgeon Dr. Lawrence Pass. Jenkins arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and was scheduled to go into surgery at 8:00 a.m., with hopefully everything wrapping up by noon.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Late on February 21st as fans and friends waited impatiently for an update, Wilma Jenkins finally gave the unfortunate news that there had been complications during the surgery, and that Brandon was still not into recovery. “After 18 hours in surgery … he has several critical issues that they will be dealing with over the next 48 hours before they can close his surgery or begin to wake him up,” Wilma Jenkins said. “Keep him in your prayers and hearts as he fights a tough battle the next few days.”
Then on Thursday (2-22), Wilma Jenkins offered a new update. “He is constantly being cared for with many machines and drugs attached. He went back to surgery this morning and they were able to stop the blood loss. He’s having blood pressure issues although the heart machine does many things for him. His chest is still open and he is sedated. They remind us that he is extremely critical and hoping for some kind of stabilization. My constant prayer is that he will come back to us. You must know, as I do, that thousands of friends and fans around the world are also praying and sending their love.”
Brandon Jenkins is beloved in the Red Dirt music scene in Oklahoma and beyond. He first met the likes of Cody Canada, Stoney LaRue, and Mike McClure while attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and soon became known as one of the founders of the scene. Jankins moved to Austin in 2003, and then relocated to Nashville in 2016. Many fellow Red Dirt musicians have covered Brandon Jenkins songs, and he tours frequently behind his independently-released albums. At the recent Mile 0 Fest in Key West, FL, many of the Red Dirt performers played renditions of Jenkins songs in tribute, and shouted out their support from the stage. Brandon was scheduled to perform at the event, but had to cancel due to the health issues.
Brandon’s just-released album Tail Lights in a Boomtown can be purchased on iTunes, and you can also donate to him directly via paypal. You can also purchase “Hearts Beat for Jenkins” merch that will go to support his hospital bills.
Saving Country Music will continue to monitor this story as more information is made available.