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EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Silverman's Doctor on the 'Scary' Surgery that Saved the Comedian's Life

by Raphael Chestang 4:13 PM PDT, July 07, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Silverman's Doctor on the 'Scary' Surgery that Saved the Comedian's Life

After Sarah Silverman's near-death experience, ET spoke with the doctor she credits with saving her.

Dr. Rob Huizenga spoke to ET and explained Silverman's life-threatening condition called epiglottitis, a bacterial infection of the upper part of the larynx, which required surgery.

WATCH: Sarah Silverman Says She Almost Died Last Week

"Epiglottitis can be a fatal disease, because this tissue is sitting right on top of your windpipe," Huizenga told ET. "If it swells from a burn or an infection, suddenly the whole mechanism of getting air from your mouth into your lungs is closed off unless you literally put a tube past that blockage into the lung."

The procedure was especially stressful for Silverman as her blood pressure was too low for her to be fully sedated, meaning she was conscious through the ordeal.

"It can be very freaky and very scary because you're awake and alert, but because the tube goes through your vocal cords, you can't phonate," Huizenga said. "You can't make any sounds. You can't talk."

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Silverman said that she thought she just had a sore throat -- but was thankful she went to the doctor since it wound up being much more severe.

WATCH: Garry Shandling's Famous Friends Gather at His House to Play Basketball, Remember the Late Star

After leaving the ICU at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Silverman reflected on the people in her life that she's lost recently and asked "Why me?"

While it's not clear who specifically Silverman is referring to, the Wreck-It Ralph star lost several friends and loved ones within the past year and a half, including comedian Garry Shandling in March, former Parks and Recreation co-executive producer Harris Wittels last February and her mother, Beth Ann O'Hara, last August.

WATCH: Sarah Silverman's Mom, Beth Ann O'Hara, Dies: Read the Comedian's Touching Tribute

Silverman remembered her mother in an interview with ET last September.

"One time she said, 'Sometimes all you have to do is be brave,'" she said, "Meaning sometimes you have to just exist through things, and then they pass or you get to the other side."

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