Chicago Sun-Times

The Battle of Chicago Reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez

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November 7, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Carlos Hernandez Gomez is a reporter with attitude. Streetwise and smart, punky yet sweet. When Carlos walks into a news conference, he brings his own electricity.

Thick black glasses, trimmed black beard, and fedora whenever possible -- these are the accessories of a young man whose questions to politicians and prosecutors will not be ignored.

Carlos began his political reporting career at WBEZ radio in Chicago, but in 2005, CLTV hired him away to cover the corruption trial of former Gov. George Ryan.

But you won't be seeing him on TV for a little while. Carlos, 36, is off the air working on the most challenging story yet to cross his path. It's the ongoing medical effort to save his life. Diagnosed and operated on for colon cancer on New Year's Eve of 2008, he has recently had another surgery to scrub the lining of his stomach of malignant cells. His stomach was then pumped with boiling hot chemotherapy to nuke whatever microscopic bits of cancer remained.

"His doctors compare it to getting third-degree burns to your stomach," said Carlos' wife, Randi Belisomo, who also is a reporter for CLTV.

As I write this, Congress is preparing to go into session to take the first vote on President Obama's health-care reform package.

Meanwhile, Carlos is in a hospital bed in the oncology wing of Northwestern Memorial Hospital with Randi at his side.

When I visited Friday, two amazing nurses named Jon and Linda worked for almost an hour fixing IVs, drawing blood and giving him injections, all the while keeping a close watch on his heart rate.

Carlos, in pain so great that he couldn't smile, is lucky nonetheless.

He still has a job in an America where unemployment last week hit double digits and is expected to get worse.

He still has health insurance in a country where even the employed often don't, and where the unemployed stay awake at night fearing the onset of illness will bankrupt them before it kills them.

And Carlos is lucky because he has a solid-gold wife and friends who love him. And a medical team that offers first-rate care.

In his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama promised change we can believe in. And devotion to the values and economic dreams of the shrinking, struggling middle class. He promised to take the partisanship out of Washington and restore a collaborative sense of purpose across party lines.

To date, those are still only promises.

Meanwhile, there is a basic divide between Congress and ordinary Americans. As Politico reported on Friday, 44 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But only 1 percent of Americans can claim that good fortune.

Obama needs a boldness he hasn't shown, and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate need a backbone they can't always find.

Bipartisanship is a laudable goal, but that may have to wait in line behind the 35 million Americans praying for health insurance.

When Carlos beats this thing and gets back on his feet, he may have some lessons to share about how to muster bipartisan support.

Since word of his illness was first posted on Rich Miller's CapitolFaxBlog, get-well wishes have poured in from political enemies Rod Blagojevich and Judy Barr Topinka. Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna offered prayers. Democratic Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan arrived with jokes. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald quietly popped in, and former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson took Carlos out for a good-luck dinner before the last surgery.

Carlos has people from both sides of the aisle in his corner.

Americans without health care should be so lucky.

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8 Comments

Carlos, our prayers are w you.

Carol, pleeeese !

Producers, who create jobs, & run buisness, know the free mrkt works best. And soln's like HealthCare Savings Accts, etc, address the uninsured wo killing Innovation & our US Economy !

Govt Option will punish Producers, kill jobs, kill Innovation, politicize Medicine, (see Abortion & Mammograms), cause Rationing, & Bankrupt the US...

I know you believe in higher taxes, I saw you on 11 tell a downstate pol that IL could pay more taxes...because, after all, other st's have higher tax rates...

But consider those states..CA, MI, NJ, NY..all loosing the best minds & going bankrupt !

Carlos, our prayers are w you.

Carol, pleeeese !

I saw you on 11 tell a downstate pol that IL could pay more taxes...because, after all, other st's have higher tax rates...

like CA, MI, NJ, NY - all going bankrupt !?!

Those of us who have run a business, know the free mrkt works best. And soln's like HealthCare Savings Accounts, etc, can help the uninsured wo destroying Innovation & our US Economy !

CARLOS WHEN YOU GET WELL, AND YOU ARE GOING TO GET WELL, PLEASE INVESTIGATE THE DEATH OF MICHAEL SCOTT, I WANT YOU TO PUT YOUR INVESTIGATIVE KNOWLEDGE ON THIS ONE, AND THEN GIVE US YOUR EXPERTISE ON THIS, AND THEN I WILL FEEL BETTER ABOUT THIS SITUATION, GET WELL CARLOS, MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR WIFE AND THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY!
WE MISS HEARING YOUR COMMENTARY, GET WELL SOON!

I hope that Carlos has a speedy recovery and gets back to thye great job he dows with reporting and analysis. As a former prosector who has been at press cnferences with Carlos, I always found Carlos to be professional and ask tough questions, but also personable and human. Thanks to Carol Marin for the article. My Family's best wishes and prayers go out to Carlos with hope that he gets well soon.

Members of Congress have a health care plan that most of us could never afford. Ironically, we pay for it, even those of us who can't afford our own.
By the way I'm curious to know how many members of Congress became millionaires after being elected to office.

You have got to be Kidding me. Is this SERIOUSLY the only way the DNC can drum up support for clearly toxic legislation? By having their panting lapdogs in the media publish mushy, gushy pieces like this? I mean – SERIOUSLY????

Fact is, Obama’s plan, Pelosi’s Plan and Reid’s plan does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the REAL issue of why 100% of all Americans do not have health insurance. What it DOES do is swell the size of the federal government (and its budget, i.e. OUR TAXES) beyond what’s reasonable and prudent. One hundred and eleven NEW bureaucracies??? The ONLY thing that does is DELAY CARE.

Rationing has already begun to “leak out” by way of the new mammogram and pelvic exam guidelines. THAT IS RATIONED CARE. (I personally know a couple dozen women who would not be alive under these new guidelines…)

Furthermore, the DNC plan FAILS to address illegal immigrants continuing to receive handouts (i.e. incentives to keep coming here illegally) that the taxpayer has to foot the bill on.

FURTHERMORE, the DNC plan REFUSES to address out-of-control lawsuit abuse by trial lawyers (one of the biggest sources of contributions to the DNC, behind Unions).

LASTLY… what are we going to do to replace the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars we get from Canadians that come down here for their healthcare (currently, five of my family members in Toronto receive medical care in Buffalo, NY).

I am certainly saddened to hear about Mr. Gomez fight for his life and wish the best for him. I alos liked you when you appeared with Ron Majors and recently when you and Mr. Majors were on the Roe Conn show. BUT.............
If you (or anyone else) thinks that our government will ever be able to provide anything of any real substance in healthcare or even safety, your living in fantasyland. D.C. stands for disconnected. They are all financially well to do lawyers and represent the people only to the extent that it helps them keep their jobs. And that's it. If you think Obama or anyone else there really cares about the common folks like us, you're absolutely wrong. Get well Mr. Gomez! May God be with you!

YOU ARE A GREAT JOURNALIST, THANK YOU CAROL MARIN FOR BRINGING THIS STORY TO LIGHT, TO CARLOS AND HIS WIFE, MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU!

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This page contains a single entry by Carol Marin published on November 7, 2009 6:03 AM.

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