Religious leaders march for South Side trauma center

Rev. Alice Harper-Jones of the Kenwood United Church of Christ sings during a "Sing for A Trauma Center" event cosponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Trauma Center Coalition at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, 5758 S. Maryland Ave., at University of Chicago Medicine Thursday afternoon.
Rev. Alice Harper-Jones of the Kenwood United Church of Christ sings during a “Sing for A Trauma Center” event cosponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Trauma Center Coalition at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, 5758 S. Maryland Ave., at University of Chicago Medicine Thursday afternoon.

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

Hyde Park and South Side religious leaders marched Thursday to demand a level 1 adult trauma care center on the University of Chicago campus.

Members of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Kenwood United Church of Christ, St. Philip Lutheran Church, University Church and the Jewish Clergy Across Chicagoland joined trauma care advocates to pray for an end to violence and a trauma center on the South Side.

The Trauma Care Coalition is demanding the university build a medical center that specializes in treating victims of gunshot wounds, car accidents and other violent injuries. There are currently no trauma care centers on the mid-South Side and victims often travel to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Kurtys James, a member of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY), one of the organizations in the Trauma Care Coalition, said he wants the university to follow through on its talks with neighboring medical centers.

“The university has told us that they are in talks with other hospitals to get a trauma center but we want to make sure that these talks actually do turn into actions,” James said.

Last month University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) president Sharon O’Keefe told a state medical review board that it was in talks with other South Side hospitals about the area’s trauma care needs.

“We are currently in discussions with actually all of the medical directors of trauma … centers, in Chicago and other facilities to both collaborate and look at what is the best possible way to organize trauma … care in Chicago to best meet the needs of the area,” O’Keefe said in August. “And those discussions are going on at this point in time. And we’ve done a thorough analysis of the impact on the University of Chicago Medicine of a trauma center on the adult side both from an operational perspective and from a bed demand and also where patients would be coming from in the region and they would most likely be.”

Roughly 45 people prayed and marched on the medical campus at 58th Street and Maryland Avenue Thursday afternoon. Jewish clergy members sounded shofars, a traditional instrument made from a ram’s horn, to pray the new year will bring peace and medical care for South Side residents.

Ella Smith, a Woodlawn resident, told the story of her grandson, Terrell Dobbs. He was 22 years old when he was shot and killed on the 6400 block of South Minerva Avenue, less than a mile from UCMC. Dobbs was walking home when he was shot in the thigh, hitting an artery.

An ambulance took Dobbs to Northwestern Memorial Hospital nearly 10 miles away. He died before he arrived.

l.welbers@hpherald.com