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Counterpoint: Holy Cross trauma center not enough

Entrance to the Emergency Room at Holy Cross Hospital, where a new Level 1 Trauma Center is to be built. (Brian Jackson/For the Chicago Sun-Times)

The adult trauma center the University of Chicago will build at Holy Cross Hospital represents a victory for the South Side, but it is not enough.

The new trauma center will save lives in neighborhoods on the South and Southwest Side that have high rates of trauma. We celebrate this development, which is the direct result of the work of young black people and their allies.

OPINION

The University of Chicago still should open a trauma center to provide adequate services to South Shore, East Woodlawn, Kenwood and other South Side neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are more than five miles from Holy Cross, which means that victims of trauma there still will face significantly longer transport times than people on Chicago’s North Side do.

In addition, the university should immediately raise the age limit for patients at its pediatric trauma center. In December 2014, the U. of C. publicly committed to raise the age limit to one day short of 18. They should not take back this promise, and they should further raise the age limit to 21. More than half a dozen pediatric trauma centers around the country treat kids up to 21.

This would honor not only the University of Chicago’s promise, but also the young people who fought to make this happen.

After five years, the university has yet to engage in a process that truly values black voices and lives. With this decision the University of Chicago has shown that it is willing to spend $40 million to keep victims of gun trauma off their campus, out of their hospital.

While we believe a trauma center at Holy Cross is not enough, we celebrate this significant step toward a more equitable distribution of resources in our city, and we will continue to fight for healthcare justice on the South Side.

Submitted by The Trauma Care Coalition, a group of community organizations that has been pressing the University of Chicago for five years to build a new adult trauma center.