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Rep. Rush, Activists Call For More Trauma Centers On South Side

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Congressman Bobby Rush, medical professionals, activists and family and friends of people who've died after being rushed to a far away trauma center. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

Congressman Bobby Rush, medical professionals, activists and family and friends of people who’ve died after being rushed to a far away trauma center. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Trauma center deserts and the need for more trauma center services on the city’s South Side were the focus of a news conference outside Jackson Park Hospital this morning.

Medical professionals as well as family and friends of victims of trauma were among those who joined Cong. Bobby Rush today as he talked about the bill he’s proposed to provide an extra $100 million for trauma services around the country, including the city’s South Side.

The congressman says he’s under “no illusion” that’s anywhere near enough what’s needed, but he says “we’ve got to start somewhere”.

Northwestern University Medical School Associate Professor of Surgery, Dr. Marie Crandall says her research has shown that distance to a trauma center makes a difference whether you live or die.

She says, “For individuals who are shot more than five miles away from a trauma center…..longer transport times contributed to excess mortality.”

Kandice Denard’s brother was shot nearly three years ago a couple of blocks from two hospitals that are NOT trauma centers and had to be rushed miles away to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he died. Denard says she believes “his chances of surviving would have been 10x greater if he would have (been able to go) two blocks away” to one of those other two hospitals.

The only Level I trauma center for adults south of Cermak Road in the city is Christ Hospital in southwest suburban Oak Lawn. Congressman Rush says, “We’ve got to do something about those who are dying on our streets.”

19-year old Michael Dye’s friend, a fellow college student named Kevin Ambrose was shot in May while going to the 47th Street Green Line station to pick up Dye for an overnight stay. Ambrose died and Dye says he was baffled why his friend was being taken miles away to Stroger Hospital when there were two other nearby hospitals, even though they weren’t trauma centers.

Dr. William Dorsey, the CEO of Jackson Park Hospital, says the high volume of trauma victims on the South Side combined with being an area of low or no insurance “is lethal” when it comes to whether to open a trauma center.

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