University of Chicago Medicine will establish a Level 1 adult trauma center at its Hyde Park campus on Chicago's South Side, scrapping plans to collaboratively develop a trauma center with the city's Holy Cross Hospital. That gives community activists exactly what they had demanded from the start.
The new trauma center is part of a major investment the medical center says it will make in its surrounding community. In addition to construction of the expanded emergency department, it announced plans for a “substantial increase” in the number of inpatient beds to support the new trauma and emergency-care operations, as well as specialty care.
The trauma center will be the first on Chicago's South Side since 1991, when Michael Reese Hospital, about four miles north of the University of Chicago, ended its trauma program. Michael Reese closed in 2008.
The hospital said it shifted its building plans to “ensure Chicago's South Side community has access to comprehensive adult trauma care.” Officials aren't yet able to attach a dollar amount to the investment, but said they would know more once they filed for state approval in the first quarter.
The medical center announced in September that it would work with Chicago-based Sinai Health System to develop a Level 1 trauma center at Holy Cross, despite calls from community activists for a trauma center at the University of Chicago. The local Trauma Care Coalition called the initial Holy Cross project a victory but said it still wouldn't serve large swaths of the South Side that could be treated at a facility on the school's campus.
“From the very beginning, what has mattered most is making sure that patients have access to the highest level of trauma care where the needs are great,” Karen Teitelbaum, CEO of Sinai Health System, said in a statement. She said Sinai would offer support and expertise from its own experiences with the Level I trauma center at its hospital on the city's West Side.