Josie Duggar: The Health Issues of Jim Bob and Michelle’s Youngest Child

Edduin Carvajal
Jul 02, 2019
09:27 A.M.
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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar probably thought that they knew everything about pregnancy after welcoming 18 children to the world. However, the birth of Josie Duggar, their 19th and last child, was very different from the rest and almost tragic.


Although the Duggars are among the most famous families thanks to “19 Kids and Counting” and “Counting On,” several people don't know what happened to Josie Duggar.

“We are happy that she is doing so well and fully expect her to continue to thrive. Today, as she’s leaving, she looks like a full-term baby,” said Dr. Arrington.



On December 10, 2009, after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and damage to other organs, Michelle underwent a C-section to deliver Josie Duggar at only 25 weeks.

Josie was born at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and, since she was a micro preemie (a baby born before 26 weeks of gestation), she weighed only one pound and six ounces.



Eight days after being born and staying in the NICU, the baby’s bowel perforated. The Duggar’s youngest child was immediately taken from the hospital where she was born to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

According to Dr. Robert Arrington, her physician and co-director of the NICU, Josie developed a “spontaneous bowel perforation.” Thankfully, the medical team controlled the situation in a timely fashion.


“She responded to placement of an abdominal drain, plus antibiotics, and did not require an open operation,” pointed out Dr. Arrington.

Jim Bob was very thankful for the excellent care his daughter received but was also worried about Josie’s future as he knew she was “walking a daily tightrope to keep her vitals stable.”

Michelle and Jim Bob also took their time to thank their followers as they considered that their faith and prayers gave them the strength they needed to overcome such a difficult situation.



As time passed by, Josie’s health got better and she was growing stronger. Finally, on April 6, 2010, she no longer needed a ventilator to breathe and, due to her continuing improvements, she was released from the hospital weighing four pounds and nine ounces.

Unfortunately, Josie’s health issues were far from over. Only six days after leaving the hospital, the baby’s vital signs dropped unexpectedly, so she was taken back to Arkansas Children’s Hospital at around 3 am.


As a way to increase her calorie intake, doctors added fortifiers to her breast milk. Sadly, it turned into constipation and it was the cause of her fluctuating vital signs, according to Jim Bob.

On June 3, 2010, the baby was released from the hospital weighing seven pounds and six ounces. Over time, doctors discovered that her digestive issues were caused by lactose intolerance.

“We are happy that she is doing so well and fully expect her to continue to thrive. Today, as she’s leaving, she looks like a full-term baby,” said Dr. Arrington.



Thankfully, Josie’s health was stable for several years, and she grew up as any child would. At least that’s what the Duggars made people believe. In April 2015, an episode of “19 Kids and Counting” showed that Josie, who was five years old at the time, started having a seizure.

The clip showed Jana, who was in charge of the house because Jim Bob and Michelle were out of town, trying to help her little sister. Even Scott Enlow, the director of that episode, helped Jana while they waited for the paramedics.


Once things got calmed, Jana said that it had not been Josie’s first seizure but the fourth or fifth. Michelle offered a better explanation of her youngest daughter’s medical issue.

“One of the little glitches for Josie is that if she runs a fever, she does have the tendency to have febrile seizures. It might happen just like that; she’ll spike a temp when you least expect it, and she’ll have a seizure.”

Thankfully, the girl recovered soon after that and returned home to be with the rest of her family.



At the moment, Josie is nine years old and, even though her family has not confirmed it, several followers believe that she has shown signs of developmental delays that might be linked to her previous health issues.

In Reddit, a user asked if somebody else had noticed Josie’s trouble to speak intelligibly. They even pointed out that the difference was more evident when compared to Josh’s children and Jordyn, who were about the same age as Josie at the time (six).


“She was premature unlike the others you mentioned and has various issues likely related to those complications (seizures etc.) some speech/learning delays usually come along with that,” shared another Reddit user.

Rumors about Josie’s alleged developmental delays sparked once again in May 2018 when a person close to the family uploaded a photo of the girl holding up a book with a completed assignment from her lesson.



What made people reconsider the developmental delay issue was that the book showed the abecedary. In the caption, the person who uploaded the photo wrote: “Look who finished a whole grade!”


Reddit user

admitted to feeling “awkward” because they teach children of Josie’s age, suggesting that she was too old (eight at the time) for studying the lesson shown in the pic.

Screenshot of Josie holding a book | Source: Instagram Stories/Laura DeMasie @masiespace

"Yeah, it is possible that she has some kind of learning disability or cognitive delay to at least partially explain this," shared another user.

Josie’s parents have not addressed that rumor, and most of the Duggars’ fans are just happy to see that the youngest member of the family is healthy after the many problems she experienced growing up.


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