Protesters: U Of C Hospital Must Treat Gunshot Victims

CHICAGO (CBS) — Protesters camped out at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Monday, calling for better emergency care on the city’s South Side.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, on Aug. 14 of last year, community activist Damian Turner was hit by gunfire in a drive-by shooting at 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The 18-year-old was an unintended target.

The U of C Medical Center lies just a few blocks away. But because the hospital does not have a trauma center equipped to treat most gunshot victims, paramedics had to drive him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, about 10 miles away, in the Streeterville neighborhood.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Turner was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

His family and friends believe he may have survived if he had been treated somewhere in closer proximity.

“We’re not going to win this by convincing them it’s the right thing to do,” protester Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle said. “We’re going to win this by pestering them and making sure they do it, and we’re going to win. There’s no doubt in my mind. They have more tax breaks than any hospital on the South Side — just about than any in the city.”

The U of C has issued the following statement: “Trauma care is part of a much larger issue of unmet health care needs, shrinking care is part of a much larger issue of unmet health care needs, shrinking resources, and the necessity for a coordinated regional response on the South Side.

“Although the medical center continues to serve as a pediatric trauma center, it does not currently have the resources to handle both pediatric and adult trauma centers.”

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.

Currently, there is no adult trauma center on the South Side. Still, many in the medical community say Chicagoans — no matter where they live — are far from under-served.

In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago area has more than 40 adult trauma centers. Compare that to neighboring Indiana, which has just seven to serve the entire state.

The U of C hosted a trauma center for adults at one time, but that has not been the case since 1988.

Level 1 trauma centers are required to have specialists on hand 24 hours a day.

Protesters planned to remain outside the U of C hospital until 11 p.m. Monday.

  • CFLC

    The way University of Chicago Hospital advertises on TV and in the media on what a great hospital it is, you would think they would have a trauma center. Another example of sugar coating a hospital with a lot of fuff.

  • Li Wright

    I don’t support the protesters. Maybe folks should give up their guns and stop shooting each other. They would live longer.

  • marsares

    Who’s going to pay for it? Hospitals can’t stay open on good will alone? Do you have health insurance or do yyou expect the hospital to have health insurance for you? How about we go back to the time when all families had 2 parents and raised their children responsibly, or perhaps the time has come for “Big Brother” to take over in certain areas; How about Norplant until one can prove worthy of having a child?

  • tj1776

    The people that get shot the most contribute nothing to the tax base, If you can’t pay for your own gunshot wound to be treated, you should get a free vasectomy as well.

    • Jermain Williams

      Another excellent idea. But someone would for sure cry racism on that one.

    • FR

      The shooter should pay. We need more cameras to be sure to catch them.

      • Jermain

        How do you get a criminal in prison to pay his hospital bill?

  • Just Axin

    You mopes, as usual, burden the system and do not pay for it. And then you have the nerve to ask for more?? Stop spreading your legs and having unprotected sex and you wouldn’t have as many drive by shootings. Better yet, take your drug proceeds and start paying for your own medical care.

    • NWA

      The image of a doper in America is a middle age White man.


      • WWA

        Yeah. he’s the middle aged White doctor high on caffeine trying to stay awake all night in the ER treating all the Black gunshot victims…

      • Jermain

        Relevance, NWA? We’re talking about freeloaders protesting that they want better free handouts. Why must you always make irrelevant comments?

    • Jermain Williams

      @Just Axin, Yet another brilliant suggestion! Unfortunately there would have to be intelligence present for that to work. Forget about the south and west sides!

  • Guest

    Trauma is one of the most expensive things a hospital has to pay for, and many of the people don’t have insurance. I watched a special on TV a few years ago where they were trying to keep the centers open, but were going bankrupt and had to close. At least Chicago has other trauma centers. The Hospitals in the bottom two-thirds of the state lost most of their brain surgeons because they couldn’t pay their malpractice insurance and make ends meet. Don’t get into an accident down there, they have to fly you to who knows where. They are in much worse shape than Chicago.

  • Jessica Anderson

    First of all, there are thousands of individuals in the U.S. with no health insurance, so this is a national problem, not a black problem. THe U.S. health system is horrible (Note I didn’t say doctors, I said the system.) Second of all, it makes complete sense to have an adult trauma center in an area that has a more gun violence than other areas. If you all were in that position, you would be protesting as well. What would happen if an innocent white bystander was shot? You all would be furious about having to drive miles away to another hospital. Then, you all have to think about who provides the guns and drugs to the Black community. We aren’t the one’s who have that kind of access to items that will allow us to cross country borders like that. Haven’t you seen “locked up abroad?” most of the people smuggling drugs are white. And then if you read more into the article, it was an unintended target who was shot, so who is to say that he didn’t deserve medical treatment for free? Then you all talk about a bunch of other irrelevant things. Providing birth control will not correct the problem at hand. With what’s going on here, it will just kill off a population which I am sure you all are for, terrible. But then again…that’s why you are on cbs2chicago making ill-bred comments.

    • Jermain Williams

      Miss Jessica, I don’t know where you are from, but here in Chicago the black men between the ages of 15 and 35 are the crime problem. That makes it a black thing here. Remove those men I just mentioned from the equation and gun violence drops to almost nothing. Birth control would help this problem.

      • Jermain

        @Jessica, Unfortunately, the stink from the south and west sides, lingers into other areas, making it everyone’s problem!!!!!

      • Jessica Anderson

        Why don’t you remove the people who are providing the guns then, then we will have no guns.

      • Jermain Williams

        Jessica, guns are not the problem. They are only tools. Vicious criminals misuse these tools. Nobody ever intended for guns to be used to hurt innocent people. They are supposed to be for protection from these criminals, even know Illinois government doesn’t get the concept. Guns are a good thing, if used correctly.

      • Jessica Anderson

        “Vicious criminals” are people who knowingly commit heinous crimes, these individuals are not vicious, they are misguided invididuals who are caught up in an oppressive state of mind. If there were no guns, there would be no problem. It is the problem. This country is allowing guns to be put in the hands of people who have no business having guns.

      • Jermain Williams

        @Jessica, Not vicious? Don’t you pay attention to the news. When a 6 year old, a 9 year old, and a 13 year old are all shot within a month, it’s safe to conclude the gangsters that shot them are the most vicious in our society. MISGUIDED INDIVIDUALS? HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa, that’s hilarious! CAUGHT UP IN AN OPPRESSIVE STATE OF MIND?HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa, that’s even more hilarious!!!! Guns are NOT the problem. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people! If guns dissapeared, the gangsters would utilize different methods of killing!

      • Jessica Anderson

        Who said they are gangsters? Because a black person has a gun, then they are gangsters? Okay, enough with the simpleminded conversation. Sure the people who use the guns are the problem because they shouldn’t be using them the way they do, but this can be fixed without getting rid of a population. Obviously you don’t read into my comment and are fixated on blaming Black people. That’s fine, you can have you’re own opinion, and talk on this wall all you want. You are not doing anything to try and change things and your wants are unrealistic.

      • Jessica Anderson

        Therefore, stop complaining and stay out of it.

  • Joe Varno

    When ER’s don’t get paid for 58% of all visits, it’s a little disingenuous to demand that they spend a lot of money they don’t have to expand their presence.

    Source: Weber, E., Showstack, A., Hunt, K., Colby, D., Grimes, B., Bacchetti, P., and Callaham, M. (April, 2008) Are the uninsured responsible for the increase in Emergency Department visits in the United States?. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 51(2). Pg 108-115

  • They don't even know what they're protesting

    Just because a trauma center might be nearby, does not mean that every person with traumatic injuries can be saved. That is just a fact. Does this protest group have any supporting evidence to show that this person had a real chance of living, or is it just another group being being loud because they know the news will cover it? U of C had an adult trauma center years ago, and it was forced to shut down due to lack of funding. Instead of people yelling that a private hospital should do things for their poor community, why aren’t they complaining that Provident hospital, which is approx 1 1/2 miles away, and funded by county taxpayer dollars, re-opens their emergency department and includes trauma services? Many poor will tell you they don’t think county services are as good as U of C…which is exactly what’s wrong with their thinking here – if you don’t pay into the system, you get basic services. If you want something more, it has to be earned.

  • JB

    Yet anothere example of blacks complaining about their handouts.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I have a problem with U of C not treating car accident victims. There are a lot of car crashes and serious accidents that happen on Lake Shore Drive. I find it absolutely heartbreaking that an ambulance has to take someone who was seriously injured in a car trash to Beverly/Evergreen Park or all the way to Northwestern and U of C is right there. They only accept those people who they know are going to die from their injuries.

    To someone elses comment, it is a shame that anyone who crashes on I-57 has to be flown to Carle Hospital in Champaign or back to Chicago. Someone near Kankakee who is seriously injured is in the worst shape of all.

    A note to CBS, the racist comments are really distasteful on your site. I think your tech staff should monitor more of what is posted and remove inappropriate comments in a timely fashion.

    • JB

      Probably a black welfare recipient.

    • Jermain

      @Concerned, The censorship practices you have suggested are already in place. In China, Iran, Syria, etc. I don’t find the truth to be racist or distasteful, it’s just the truth. If you can’t handle the truth, maybe you should be on a childrens website, where everything is warm and fuzzy. Comments that YOU find to be inappropriate, are the opinions of others. In America, we are all entitled to an opinion, whether people like you like it or not. I think it’s called freedom of expression. Removal of comments is UnAmerican and CBS should refrain from the practice all together!!!

  • Just Axin

    Jessica-If you are so trusting of the population you seek to protect, why not walk around in the hood when it gets dark? The health system is not horrible in this country. You can seek treatment wherever and whenever you choose. Keep in mind, health care is not a right, nor is it free. The idiots protesting don’t dare take to the streets after dark and try to broker peace or tell the criminals they are calling the police. They are also not insisting women learn to use birth control. For you to say that those committing these henious crimes are not vicious but are misguided completely discredits you in the real world. Maybe there’s a position for you at the Obama reelection headquarters?

    • Jessica Anderson

      You cannot seek treatment wherever or whenever you choose. How educated are you? Don’t you know the likelihood of being taken to certain hospitals based on your race? You cannot choose to go somewhere when you are badly injured and are in no condition to choose. Where you are really makes no difference. People are getting shot downtown. See this is why you are on the computer using some fake name voicing your opinion because it lacks substance and logic. And nothing discredits me in the “real world,” everyone has their own realities and obviously the one these individuals are in, you are not part of.

      • Jermain

        @Jessica, You are wrong. An ambulance driver does not use race to determine what hospital to take a patient to. EVER! The injuries to the patient and the hospital’s specialty determines that. Only a racist would suggest that a professional would use race to determine what hospital to go to. What is wrong with you?

    • Matt

      Actually, the people protesting include numerous people who are working to broker peace in the neighborhood. But you wouldn’t know anything about that because you don’t know them, you just make assumptions based on your own racism. Sad thing is, you’ve been fed this load of b.s. by people who don’t give a damn about you (unless you are really rich). They’ll foreclose on you, lay you off, kick you to the curb, etc and maybe then you’ll realize that the people you call idiots are actually the only voice of reason in this sick society that is giving billions to bankers who have committed crimes and destroyed the economy but continually cutting back on basic services for the poor.

      • Jermain

        Basic services for the poor? Don’t you mean free handouts?

  • Protesters: U Of C Medical Center Needs To Treat Gunshot Victims « Chicago « CGPAGE

    […] community activist Damian Turner was shot in a drive-by near 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, CBS 2 Chicago reports. Turner, who was not the intended target, was taken by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, […]

  • sparefoot

    The U of C needs to have a trauma center, for sure. Nobody should have to travel an unnecessary amount of extra distance for treatment.

    • Jermain

      Is the surrounding community going to pay for it?

    • Matt

      Actually health care is a right. A human right. Check out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights some time. You might learn a few things. And actually they are paying for it with their sales, property and income tax. U of C gets $58 million a year in tax breaks and provides only $10 million of that back to the community in charity care. So who is the freeloader?

      • What!?!

        Yeah, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was ratified by the United Nations, one of the most corrupt and completely inept organizations in the history of humanity. Anything that the UN declares or stands for is a joke. Funny, how this “right” to health care is declared, but no guidance or funding was given to pay for this “right” by the UN. Also, regarding the $58 million in tax breaks, of which “only” $10 million are given back the community, did it ever occur to you that the extra $48 million might be used for research and development, or other things like paying for bills that they aren’t getting funding for?

      • GM

        Get a clue. they’re not paying sales taxes if they’re usiing a link card. they’re not paying properety taxes if thy’re living in subsidized housing and they’re not paying income taxes because of lthe earned income tax credit.

  • Matt

    You are so blinded by your racism that you don’t even think about car accidents and other traumatic injuries that mean that anybody could be a victim to the lack of trauma care on the south side. There are NO trauma centers on the entire south side. You will probably be sitting in an ambulance driving ten miles away as you bleed to death after an accident before you stop and think, gee, “maybe I should have listened to those youth” instead of dismissing them as freeloaders despite not knowing any of them and probably never having set foot in any of their communities. May God forgive you for your sins for you know not what you say.

  • Just the Average Joe

    If U of C opens an adult trauma center it will provide a guaranteed method of loosing large amounts of money. The real issue is preventing gunshot victims. I for one am sick of the parasites sucking money out of everybody else to pay for their healthcare, schools, free lunches, incarceration, and the checks for children of unmarried women. Who cares if they burn the place down, we just can’t afford the waste on this low life anymore.

    • Jermain


  • Rudolf Faust

    It’s neither the guns that are the root of the problem, nor any inherent moral failings of the African-American community. The truth is that drug prohibition creates huge economic incentives for violent, criminal behavior, and these incentives are especially strong in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. This criminal activity increases costs and decreases profitability of legitimate businesses, leading to a viscious cycle. Legalize drugs and these incentives go away, the violence dies down, and the non-criminal economy can flourish. When was the last time anybody in this city shot someone else up over alcohol? I think we all know the answer to that and the reason why…

    • Jermain

      @Rudolf, I agree that legalizing drugs would be a major help in some areas. But I have to disagree with your statement about the obvious inherent moral failings within the Afro-American community. “Socioeconomically disadvantaged populations”? That makes it sound like it is not their fault that they are savages. The truth is, many in the black community get extreme pleasure in spreading as much misery as they can. That is completely by choice!

  • malcom

    ummm, how about protesting the crime in your neighborhood which causes some of you to get shot?? just sayin’

  • Just Axin

    And Jessica-Gov’t does not get in the way of people seeking treatment. People have access, just not a guaranteed way to pay for it. And the likelihood of being taken to certain hosp is based on race? To use your quote, “How educated are you?” It’s based on location. And using your name doesn’t give you any credibility. There are prob 10 million Jess And. out there. Of course I’m not part of the hood reality. I choose to have safe sex, eat well, maintain gainful employment and I don’t break the law.

  • Just Axin

    Matt- Try educating yourself on something called the US Constitution. Here’s a good quote re your precious, socialist doctrine: “Health care doesn’t simply grow on trees; if it is to be made a right for some, the means to provide that right must be confiscated from others…no one will want to enter the medical profession when the reward for years of careful schooling and study is not fair remuneration, but rather, patients who feel entitled to one’s efforts, and a government that enslaves the very minds upon which patients’ lives depend.”

  • Just Axin

    Jessica- With that tone of yours, I don’t think you and I are going to go to dinner together….sorry.

    • Jermain

      Me either!!!!

  • Molly

    Amen to Matt’s thoughts. To repeat it one more time: UChicago gets $58 million a year in tax breaks, yet it provides only $10 million in charity care. And look at all the development that’s going on at UChicago, even in this economy. They have no right to cry poor. The lack of a Level 1 trauma center on the entire south side is another sad chapter in Chicago’s racist history. I’m so glad there is a strong, creative, and diverse coalition fighting it. Keep up the good work, FLY!

  • Matt

    Thanks for covering this important story. The youth have made a song about this campaign that is in the video “How Can You Ignore, We’re Dying at Your Door?” Please take a look and spread the word!

    It is important to note that the U of C may be a private hospital, but it depends on large sums of public money ($58 million yearly in tax breaks) and therefor has to bear a certain amount of responsibility for responding to public health crises in the communities around it. Its $10 million in charity care annually falls far short of the amount it gets in tax breaks and subsidies, leaving it with one of the worst ratios of charity care to tax breaks of any hospital in the city.

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