CHICAGO (CBS) — Activists have been staging demonstrations, sit-ins, marches and sometimes getting themselves arrested as they try to get the University of Chicago to get back into adult trauma care.
U of C activist Patrick Dexter says research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital found that every 15 minutes spent in an ambulance increases the odds of death by three.
“Using data from Chicago, using data from gunshot wounds, these researchers have proven that for the patients a trauma center would help. There is a significant difference in the odds of survivability based off of where a trauma center could be located,” said Dexter.
U of C has said in the past that travel times are not an issue and that another trauma center is not necessary.
The activists pointed to the case of Kevin Ambrose, who was shot recently near the U of C. His friend, Michael Dye, says he followed the ambulance to Stroger Hospital, miles away and the ride took more than 30 minutes.
“And Kevin died of course because he got shot but also because he had to take that long ride,” said Dye.
They say travel times for South Side gunshot victims are the highest in the city.
It’s not a new issue. In 1984, basketball star Ben Wilson was shot and taken to a non-trauma center, St. Bernard Hospital, waiting for surgeons to arrive.
“My brother was laid in St. Bernard emergency room 3 hours bleeding to death, without a trauma center,” said Jeffrey Wilson of the Ben Wilson Foundation.
Prior to closing its adult trauma center in 1988, U of C says, it’s facility was overwhelmed and it and decided to focus on specialties where it has the most to offer.
The U of C does have a pediatric trauma unit, serving kids up to age 16 and offers other high-cost services like its burn unit and neonatal intensive care.
Still, even though it just opened a new, 700-million dollar hospital, the U of C says it can’t afford an adult trauma center without eliminating those other critical services.