U. of C. Medicine now seeing patients as Level 1 adult trauma center returns

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The University of Chicago Medicine trauma center. | Provided

University of Chicago Medicine will begin offering services at its Level 1 adult trauma center Tuesday, closing a 27-year gap in trauma care for the South Side.

The center began offering trauma services at 8 a.m..

The first patient, who came by ambulance at noon, signals “the official activation of our Level 1 Adult Trauma Center,” as well as “another significant achievement by our organization,” Kenneth S. Polonsky, dean and executive vice president of medical affairs, said in a memo to faculty, staff and students.

The Level 1 adult trauma center is the first on the South Side since Michael Reese Hospital closed its center in 1991.

U. of C. ended its adult trauma care services in 1988, and underserved South Side residents have advocated since then to open such a center.

Trauma center activists held a “die-in” before a city hearing on acquiring land for the Obama presidential library at Hyde Park Academy High School in January 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times Media

Trauma center activists held a “die-in” before a city hearing on acquiring land for the Obama presidential library at Hyde Park Academy High School in January 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times Media

The center will provide specialized care for patients with traumatic injuries, like car crashes, gunshot wounds, burns and falls. Eighteen new surgeons and specialists were hired for the new trauma center, Dr. Selwyn Rogers, the trauma center’s director, previously told the Sun-Times. U. of C. expects to treat at least 2,000 adult trauma patients in the first year though the exact number of patients is hard to predict.

The trauma center comes as part of a $269 million plan to broaden U. of C.’s services, including the recent $39 million expansion of U. of C. Medicine’s emergency department, which will house the trauma center.

“We will continue to strive for excellence because the South Side of Chicago deserves nothing less,” Rogers said.

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