Forget Presidential Library; Some South-Siders Want Trauma Center

(CBS) — What is more vital on Chicago’s South Side?

A presidential library named for Barack Obama — or a trauma center, to help victims of violence?

It’s a debate that’s heating up, CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

The emergency room at the University of Chicago Hospital is only a few blocks from 61st and Cottage Grove, where 18-year-old Damian Turner was shot and wounded in 2010.

But the ambulance that took him away headed instead for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, miles to the north. Turner died shortly after he arrived.

Unlike Northwestern, the U of C’s ER is not a major trauma unit.

Damien’s best friend says it a shame there is no major trauma unit anywhere on the crime-plagued South Side.

“People are raged, people are mad, people are angry and people want answers,” Darrius Lightfoot says. “If Damian could have got the right treatment in that three minutes it would have took to get to this hospital, I believe that Damian pretty much would be here right now.”

Thursday, South Siders gathered in Hyde Park to beseech the university hospital to create a trauma unit.

Some suggested if doesn’t happen, perhaps the idea of putting the planned Obama presidential library at the school, with all it would bring, is not a good one after all.

“The University of Chicago shouldn’t have the name recognition of the Obama library if they don’t want to open a trauma center on the South Side of Chicago,” Parris Brown says.

The school says it’s a matter of funding.

A spokesman says, “The added expense would make it difficult to provide the patient care that we aspire to.”



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