David Mills, Writer of “The Wire” Dies Suddenly

The Wire, and Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, and Kingpin, has died. The 48 yr. old collapsed on the set of his most recent show, Treme, a new HBO series that takes place in New Orleans. Wendell Pierce, who played Detective William “Bunk” Moreland on The Wire, and plays a musician in Treme, told reporters that “He [Mills] was carrying on a conversation and just fell over. They called the medics, but there was nothing to be done.” It is believed that Mills died as a result of a brain aneurysm.


What is a Cerebral Aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm (also known as an intracranial  aneurysm) is a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. It is estimated that one in fifteen people in the US will develop an aneurysm during their lifetime. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on a nerve or surrounding brain tissue.  It may also leak or rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue (called a hemorrhage).  Some cerebral aneurysms, particularly those that are very small, do not bleed or cause other problems.  Cerebral aneurysms can occur anywhere in the brain, but most are located along a loop of arteries that run between the underside of the brain and the base of the skull.


Symptoms depend on what structure the aneurysm pushes on, but may include:

  • Double vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Neck pain

A sudden, severe headache (often described as “the worst headache of your life”) is one symptom that an aneurysm has ruptured.

Other symptoms of an aneurysm rupture may include:

  • Confusion, lethargy, or sleepiness
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Headaches with nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty moving any part of the body
  • Numbness or decreased sensation in any part of the body
  • Seizures
  • Speech impairment
  • Sudden onset of irritability, impulsiveness, or loss of temper control
  • Vision changes (double vision, loss of vision)

NOTE: A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical help.

Treatment of unruptured aneurysms may be one of two ways- depending on size, shape and location:

1. An open skull procedure, with placement of a clip to cut off the aneurysm
2. An endovascular procedure, where a catheter is threaded into the artery and small metal wires are inserted into the aneurysm. These wires coil up into a mesh ball and encourage the formation of a blood clot, which prevents the aneurysm from rupturing. This is a less invasive procedure, but is not appropriate for all types of aneurysms.

For more information:

Cerebral Aneurysm
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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