UChicago Medicine To Finally Open Adult Trauma Center In Hyde Park

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 17, 2015 7:04PM

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After years of calls from community members and activists, the University of Chicago will be opening a level 1 adult trauma center at the Medical Campus after all, the university announced in a statement.

It's a change in direction for University of Chicago Medicine, which announced plans in September to partner with Sinai Health System to open a trauma center at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago Lawn.

The statement says that: "UChicago has concluded that integrating an adult Level 1 trauma center with its Level 1 pediatric trauma program, and Burn and Complex Wound Center, would be of great benefit to South Side patients."

"At the end of the day, we realized that integrating all of these services on one site, on our campus, made the most sense for South Side patients," Sharon O'Keefe, President of the University of Chicago Medical Center, said in the statement.

It's a decision that will save lives. The South Side hasn't had an adult trauma center to help victims of gun violence and other emergencies since Bronzeville's former Michael Reese Hospital closed its center in 1991.

Reducing the time and distance ambulances must carry patients in need of emergency care, which can be 10 miles or more, will make a huge difference.

The university acknowledges the need and says that opening a Level 1 trauma center for adults will ensure the "South Side community has access to comprehensive adult trauma care".

The decision comes after years of protests by South Side community leaders and Trauma Care Coalition activists, demanding the university build a trauma center at its hospital.

University of Chicago Medicine will also expand its emergency department and increase the number of hospital beds.

In a statement, Trauma Care Coalition activists applauded the university and its officials on their decision and talked about their long hard fight, and its impact on the community.

"The decision by President Robert Zimmer and Dean Kenneth Polonksy of the University of Chicago to listen to the community and concede to the demand to open a Level I Adult Trauma Center and save black lives shows that young black people can absolutely impact policy and influence political change for the betterment of the black community," read the statement. The coalition added:

"This is a movement moment. We are winning and need to dream bigger and demand more to create a society where healthcare is a human right and all human rights are respected. We are calling on everyone who has struggled with us and all oppressed people to dream bigger. Let’s do more, it’s working, we can get the things that we want. The “I believe that we will win,” chant is not just a chant, it is real."