By TONIA HILL
Within the first 24 hours of opening its doors Friday, Dec. 29, the new adult emergency department at University of Chicago Medicine, 5656 S. Maryland Ave., saw 200 patients.
Last month, U. of C. Medicine unveiled the new $39 million facility.
The grand opening of the new adult emergency department and forthcoming trauma center is 26 years in the making. South Side residents have been demanding a new trauma center for the area after Michael Reese Hospital was shuttered in 1991.
Features of the new adult emergency department include dedicated radiology services and specialized spaces for victims of sexual assault, bariatric patients, patients with mental health needs and patients with highly contagious diseases who need to be quarantined.
Level 1 – trauma services, which includes the hospital’s ability to care for patients who suffer injury from car accidents, major burns, serious falls or gunshot wounds, is expected to become available May 1, 2018, pending review and certification by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The new infrastructure will support 25,000 patient visits per year, an increase of 40 percent in the number of patients the hospital can currently treat.
The new facility will be 76 percent larger expanding from 16, 517 square feet to 29,017 gross square feet, as stated in a previous article in the Herald. The new facility replaces the adult emergency department inside Mitchell Hospital, 5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Additional features of the new adult emergency department include resuscitation bays, that will be used to treat stroke and heart attack victims and victims of trauma beginning in May 2018; and the rapid assessment unit where “where expedited procedures allow patients to see an attending physician earlier in the process,” said U. of C. Medicine in a previous article in the Herald.
“Our new adult [emergency department] represents a $39 million investment in the South Side and our commitment to deliver outstanding care and a superior patient experience,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean and executive vice president for medical affairs in a written statement. “It also represents years of planning and hard work by a dedicated team of faculty, residents, nurses, technicians, support staff and administrators who have been committed to providing world-class emergency care. We are deeply grateful and thank them for their efforts.”
Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, said in a written statement “We are also proud to report the economic impact that has resulted from the [emergency department] construction. Certified minority- and women-owned businesses achieved nearly $5.8 million in economic benefit from this project, and minority and women trade workers earned $1.9 million in paid wages.”
The expanded emergency department and trauma center are part of a three-part $269 million plan that was announced by U. of C. Medicine in February 2016.
The third element of the plan includes the redevelopment of Mitchell Hospital as a cancer care facility. It will allow U. of C. Medicine to add 188 in-patient hospital beds which will accommodate the high demand for “its services and to continue to accept transfers from other hospitals when more specialized or advanced care is needed,” said U. of C. Medicine in a written statement.
The project is expected to be complete in late 2021.