Citing need for trauma care, locals briefly halt medical center construction

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer
Trauma care center advocates staged a sit in at a construction site by the University of Chicago Medical Center Monday morning.

The Trauma Care Coalition (TCC), an organization of South Side residents demanding that the University of Chicago build a Level 1 adult trauma care center on its campus, halted work at a construction site for a parking garage at 56th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue.

The construction site is directly across the street from the newly opened $700 million Center for Care and Discovery (CCD).

Eight protestors initially created a human chain to block the entrance to the construction site. They later moved further into the site and blocked cement trucks. University of Chicago Police later forcibly removed the protestors, who initially said they would not leave until the U. of C. committed to building a trauma center.

“We want the President to know that the University of Chicago should not get the honor and prestige that comes with the Obama Library when they are neglecting the needs of black and brown communities on the South Side. Building a $700M new hospital, and refusing to open a trauma center shows that the University of Chicago has the wrong priorities,” protestor Victoria Crider said in a statement.

The university released a statement during the sit in saying UCMC is committed to providing the South Side of Chicago access to the best health care and doctors possible. The statement cited the South Side’s only burn unit, an intensive care neonatal unit and the Level 1 trauma care center that serves children up to 16 years old.

“Developing a Level 1 adult trauma center would compromise the medical center’s ability to support these critical services. It would be a massive undertaking, requiring significant resources and support, as well as a complex decision-making process involving the city and state,” UCMC said in a statement.

UCMC has previously said it would support a regional initiative to bring a trauma care center to the South Side. TCC said the university has taken no actions to bring that to fruition.