By AARON GETTINGER
The University of Chicago Medical Center’s month-old trauma center is the busiest such institution in the State of Illinois, having seen 274 adult patients as of May 30. The Center treated 44 individuals over the three-day holiday weekend, said Dr. Selwyn Rogers, Jr., the Center’s Director and Chief of Trauma Surgery at a press conference Wednesday.
Around 62 percent of patients received care for blunt force injuries, such as car accidents or falls, and 38 percent received care for penetrative injuries like gunshots or stabbings according to Rogers, who said that these figures—around nine patients a day and an increase in activity over the Memorial Day weekend—were in line with projections ahead of the center’s opening.
“The addition of the U. of C. as a Level 1 Trauma Center on May 1 provided the additional capability that was so needed in order to serve all the victims of Chicago,” said Leslee Stein-Spencer, the Acting Chief of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services Division. She later confirmed that the other trauma centers in Chicago have seen fewer patience since the U. of C. Medical Center’s opening.
Other officials noted moves within the wider Medical Center and regional collaborations that have facilitated the Trauma Center’s establishment and work.
Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services Debi Albert said the Center’s opening preparation process included simulations across the Medical Center in trauma resuscitation, radiology, anesthesia, pharmacy, obstetrics and gynecology, perioperative services, in-patient services and operating rooms and specialized training in nursing, therapy services, pharmacy and surgical technology.
Albert also said the Medical Center’s blood bank reworked its practices for the Trauma Center; orthopedics, infectious diseases and pharmacy developed antimicrobial treatments for open fracture trauma; the radiology team has reduced their cycle time in interpreting CT scans; and the anesthesia department, among others, reconfigured their call schedule to accommodate surge patients and large-capacity influxes.
Urban Health Initiative Vice President Brenda Battle discussed the formation of 20-member Community Advisory Council working on engagement and access to care, saying collaborative efforts have produced violence recovery services to help trauma patients after they receive care through referrals to outpatient psychiatric or behavioral recovery services.
Battle additionally described the issue last year of seven capacity-building grants supporting community-based violence prevention, intervention and recovery efforts on the South Side, helping local organizations hire new counselors, buy new equipment and expand services. She also announced $50,000 in this year’s violence recovery grants to seven grassroots organizations in the Medical Center’s service area.
“Violence is a continuum,” said Rogers. “In many ways, the challenges that we have in our communities is that violence has been intergenerational in the context of longstanding inequities.” He said the Medical Center’s chaplaincy and a violence recovery specialist team assists patients after both stabilization and discharge. Battle said specialists have found the most immediate needs are ensuring patients are safe after leaving the Medical Center through practices like housing assistance, job placement and referrals to services like funeral planning.
In later correspondence with the Herald, a Medical Center spokeswoman said they did not yet have statistics about the number of patients from Hyde Park–Kenwood who have received treatment at the Trauma Center.