CHICAGO (WBBM) – As Provident Hospital postponed its decision to stop accepting ambulance runs, protesters called on the nearby University of Chicago Hospitals to restore its adult emergency room to trauma center status.
A group of 25 pressed their demand by staging a mock funeral outside of Rockefeller Chapel as a Martin Luther King Day celebration let out.
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Two of the teenaged protesters lay still in makeshift plywood caskets as other protesters offered prayers and sang hymns for those who died for lack of a close-by trauma center.
Protest leader Jasmine Harris said she fears not just for the lives of the area’s young, but for anyone caught in the heart of the South Side and requiring transport to the nearest trauma centers, Christ Hospital, in Oak Lawn, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in the near north Streeterville neighborhood.
“The firefighters hurt when the roof collapsed on them (Dec. 22, at 1744 E. 75th St.), they were taken to Christ and Northwestern,” she said. “They were only three miles away from the U. of C. They were taken 12 miles away.”
The university released a statement that said a trauma center has specific and extensive requirements for facilities and staffing that it cannot meet, such as a dedicated trauma-only operating room near the emergency room.
Even lacking trauma center status since 1988, the University of Chicago adult emergency room remains busy. It is on bypass, requiring ambulances to go to other hospitals, nearly a third of the time — the most in Illinois.