CHICAGO (CBS) – Residents of the Woodlawn neighborhood are planning a protest at the University of Chicago Medical Center Friday, over the lack of a trauma center at the hospital despite its proximity to violence-plagued areas.
The community members plan to stage two separate “die-in” protests Friday. The first will be held in the main quadrangle on the U of C campus at noon, the second on the hospital campus about three blocks west at 12:45 p.m. The group begins the protest at 11:30 a.m. with a march from 60th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
The protest stems from the death of Damian Turner, an 18-year-old community activist who was shot at 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in August. Because the nearby U of C Medical Center does not have a trauma unit, Turner was instead taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital several miles north, where he was later pronounced dead.
Family members and community activists held another protest in September, on the grounds that the U of C Medical Center “sits in the community, that does not serve the community,” the Rev. Andre Smith said at the time.
The U of C does have a children’s trauma center. But hospital administrators say, as major medical research center, offering innovative care for many illnesses, its resources would be stretched too thin to make a trauma unit for adults.
“It makes it difficult to run a hospital and provide the kind of patient care that we really aspire to,” hospital spokesman John Easton said in September. Easton at the time also promised a delegation of the protesters could meet soon with the hospital leadership.
There are four trauma centers in the city – Northwestern, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, and Mt. Sinai Hospital. Pediatric units are housed at Mt. Sinai, the U of C’s Comer Children’s Hospital, and Children’s Memorial Hospital.