White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar survived a ruptured brain aneurysm; Congress can improve odds for others

Lawmakers should pass “Ellie’s Law” to aid critical research to prevent fatalities and improve quality of life for survivors, two experts write.

SHARE White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar survived a ruptured brain aneurysm; Congress can improve odds for others
White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar (43) reacts after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers June 1, 2018. Weeks earlier, he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm.

White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar (43) reacts after throwing a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers June 1, 2018. Weeks earlier, he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm.

David Banks/AP

In 2018, baseball fans across Chicago were stunned by the news that White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar had suffered a brain bleed caused by a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Farquhar, 35 at the time, was fortunate. He had immediate access to excellent medical care, and just 43 days after hospitalization, he returned to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The sad truth is many Chicagoans facing the same diagnosis aren’t so lucky.

Research confirms what many of us have long known — disparities in health care frequently contribute to poor outcomes within communities of color and among the uninsured. These at-risk populations have little or no access to critical screening technologies and state-of-the-art treatments that save lives.

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Brain aneurysms, weak spots in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, can burst without warning, causing significant brain damage, life-altering disabilities and death. Aneurysms affect almost 7 million Americans each year and result in as many as 500,000 deaths around the world annually.

When it comes to brain aneurysms, uninsured and underinsured individuals and those living in low-income areas frequently experience deficient or delayed treatment and misdiagnoses of both ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms.

So, what can be done?

First, when diagnosing patients presenting with severe headaches or other symptoms that can be associated with a ruptured brain aneurysm, medical professionals must confirm the absence or presence of brain aneurysms in minutes by utilizing available tools and technologies.

Second, Chicagoans must advocate for federal legislation. We’re asking the Illinois delegation and all members of Congress to support “Ellie’s Law” (H.R. 902/S. 895), which would designate $50 million over five years for critical research, with the goal of medical advances to prevent potentially fatal brain aneurysms from rupturing and improve the quality of life for survivors.

Let your representatives know “Ellie’s Law” is a priority to you, your loved ones and the greater Chicago community.

William Ares, M.D., neurosurgeon, NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Medical Advisory Board member, Brain Aneurysm Foundation

Christine Buckley, executive director, Brain Aneurysm Foundation

Tracking police response times

Recently, the Chicago Inspector General’s office related they are unable to determine police response times in certain areas of the city (“Nearly half the time, Chicago cops don’t record time of arrival at emergency scenes” — Sept. 6).

I served as a police officer from 1987 to 2012. Unless the system has changed, the computers in police vehicles allow you to hit buttons that acknowledge the job, say you are en route to the job, at the job and clear from the job.

That’s a system that can be tracked. Let’s use that system.

Joseph Battaglia, Clearing

Mayor must reduce crime

Chicago is in crisis. Day in and day out, we hear of street crimes and stolen cars. The most frustrating part? The apparent hands-off approach from our police, leaving criminals emboldened and residents fearful.

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s conspicuous absence from regular press conferences and his regular appearances at social events paints a picture of a leader out of touch with his city’s dire needs.

We don’t need a mayor who hides behind vague explanations or deflects blame. We need action, we need answers, and, most importantly, we need leadership.

What’s happened to our city? The simple act of taking a stroll in the park or going shopping now comes with the constant underlying tension of potential crime. This isn’t the dynamic and safe city we were once so proud of.

Johnson’s recent claims about his unsurprising first 100 days are nothing short of naive. How can one claim to fully grasp the intricate challenges of a sprawling metropolis in mere months? This overconfidence, combined with a glaring lack of prior experience, should make every resident question the future of our city under his guidance. We made a critical error in judgment at the polls, and now our city pays the price.

Ed Silha, Near North

Disappointing 9-11 anniversary coverage

I was very disappointed to see 9-11 anniversary coverage deep in Monday’s paper. If not on the front page, it should have at least been on Page 3. In the future, when the Sun-Times says, “Never forget,” it will be hard to think they really mean it.

Ken Bartosik, Joliet

Compared with 2020, inflation’s high

I’m not a GOP member but an independent voter who did check my facts on inflation as recommended by the Sept. 8 letter from Richard Keslinke. And he was correct that the highs of the pandemic, close to a 9% inflation rate, had gone down to about 3.18%.

But he should also tell the whole story. Prior to the pandemic, and before this administration, the inflation rate was 1.23% in 2020 and 1.81% in 2019. So today’s rate is over twice what it was in the past. And that’s a fact.

Robert Stasch, O’Hare

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