In a major win for Chicago activists and community members who have held countless protests over the issue, a Level 1 adult trauma center will be built on the city's South Side.
The University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System announced late Thursday that they are teaming up on the $40 million effort to install an adult trauma center at Holy Cross Hospital, located at 68th Street and California Avenue. Holy Cross Hospital is part of the Sinai Health System.
"We are bringing together the best to do the most," Sinai Health System President and CEO Karen Teitelbaum said in a news release. "Since Holy Cross became part of our health care network in 2013, we have been seeking ways to expand its reach, especially when it comes to acute care and violence prevention. Bringing the expertise and resources of the University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System together, we can do exponentially more for all of the communities on the South and Southwest sides of the city."
University of Chicago Medical Center President Sharon O'Keefe added: "This important opportunity allows us to extend our commitment to invest our resources where we can have the greatest impact on the critical health needs of our communities. This collaborative partnership, a model for other care providers, leverages our collective experience and resources to expand access to life-saving, quality health care for the communities we serve."
Here's more from the announcement about the University of Chicago Medicine-Sinai Health System partnership:
Holy Cross Hospital will renovate and expand its emergency department and build a state-of-the-art Level 1 adult trauma center.
UChicago Medicine will provide capital to help fund the facility improvements at Holy Cross Hospital, which are estimated to be in the range of $40 million.
Sinai Health System, which operates a trauma center at Mount Sinai Hospital, will provide specialists dedicated to trauma care, including emergency department physicians, anesthesiologists, and nursing staff, along with trauma care support services.
UChicago Medicine will provide specialists at the new trauma center dedicated to trauma care, including general trauma, neurological, orthopedic and plastic surgeons, urologists, and other areas.
As part of Thursday's trauma center announcement, the University of Chicago Medicine also said that it will be expanding emergency services on its Hyde Park campus.
The U of C Medical Center closed its Level 1 adult trauma center back in 1988 for financial reasons.
Since 2010, members of the Trauma Care Coalition have been demanding that U of C re-open a Level 1 adult trauma center on the city's South Side, which is hard-hit by gun violence and currently lacks such a facility. Because the South Side is a "trauma desert," seriously injured adults have to travel miles away to other parts of the city for medical care.
The campaign for a South Side Level 1 adult trauma center launched after 18-year-old student and youth activist Damian Turner was shot near the corner of 51st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, just a few blocks away from the U of C hospital. Turner was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital near the Loop due to the absence of a nearby Level 1 trauma center, but he died an hour-and-a-half later. Activists with the Trauma Care Coalition believe Turner would have lived had there been an adult trauma ward nearby.
U of C faced increased protests over the trauma center issue while it competed for, and eventually landed, the much sought-after Barack Obama presidential library and museum.
It will take at least two years for the new South Side trauma center to get through the approval and construction processes, according to the news release, which also included a statement from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"This new Level 1 adult trauma center is a true community and civic effort, and the City of Chicago looks forward to working with the key stakeholders to bring this to fruition," the mayor said. "I commend the University of Chicago, Sinai Health System, and Holy Cross Hospital for working collaboratively to meet an important need on the South Side. This partnership will strengthen their longstanding commitment to their communities and proves once again why these institutions are an asset to our great city."
Read Progress Illinois' past coverage of the activist campaign for a South Side trauma center here.