Community hospitals throughout Cook County are acting as de facto trauma centers for gunshot victims who show up in their emergency rooms, despite not having specialized teams to treat them.
Holy Cross Hospital in Marquette Park on the Southwest Side, surrounded by neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of gun violence in Chicago, treated the most of any of the community hospitals, with 338 gunshot victims from 2009 through 2013.
That's more than some of the Level 1 trauma centers in the Chicago area designated by the state to take on the most severe trauma cases.
Rounding out the top three: Advocate Trinity Hospital on Chicago's South Side, in the Calumet Heights neighborhood, with 224 patients, and West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, with 218 cases.
The research, published today in JAMA Surgery, aims to underscore how community hospitals without trauma centers play a vital role in providing such care and should be a bigger part of shaping policy and medical training for the specialized treatment.
You can read the study at the bottom of this story.
“We've highlighted Cook County because it has a narrative that is representative of what is happening all over the country,” said Lee Friedman, a public health expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago and one of three authors on the study. “You have an unequal distribution of resources.”