Jarrell Williams was used to having pain in his abdomen. The 28-year-old Native of Chicago had experienced this pain for years, but one day in January 2021, the pain was more intense than usual. It was sharp and consistent, but Jarrell never thought he was walking around with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.
The sharp pains were accompanied by a fever, sweating, and flu-like symptoms. Jarrell knew he needed medical attention and went to the local Emergency Room. He would go to the Emergency Room a total of 3 times before getting a proper diagnosis. During the first ER visit, Jarrell said, “They didn’t know what it was.”
The attending physician sent Jarrell home with no answers. It wasn’t long before Jarrell found himself back at the ER with the same pain. It was unbearable and he was hoping for answers this time. He was told his intestine was swollen and a colonoscopy was performed.
Despite all the testing during this visit, a diagnosis was not confirmed, and Jarrell was sent home once again. Because COVID-19 was running rampant, Jarrell feels that the ER staff was preoccupied with COVID patients and could not give him the medical attention he needed.
The next time Jarrell experienced the sharp pain in his abdomen, he decided to go a different route. He spoke to family and co-workers, and they all agreed that he should go to a different hospital, so he landed at the University of Chicago’s Emergency Room.
Finally, he was given a diagnosis. He was told he had Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. It wasn’t a pleasant answer, but at least he knew what was going on and the diagnosis meant treatment and relief.
Unfortunately, by the time Jarrell learned what was going on, there weren’t many options for treatment. “It was bad,” he recalls. “past the point of meds and surgery was the only option.”
In December 2021, Jarrell had his appendix removed along with part of his