CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was trying to stay out of the dispute over whether the University of Chicago Medical Center should open a trauma center on its Hyde Park hospital campus.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports residents and activists around the University of Chicago campus have been campaigning to get the university to establish a “Level 1” adult trauma center.
A Level 1 trauma center would be better equipped and staffed than a standard emergency room to handle every kind of medical emergency, from gunshot wounds and other severe injuries to cardiologic and neurologic emergencies.
Although U of C has a Level 1 trauma center for children, it does not have such a facility for adult patients.
Some residents living near the U of C hospital campus said the lack of a Level 1 trauma center on the South Side means some gunshot victims or crash victims must travel several miles by ambulance to the North Side or West Side for emergency medical care.
Durbin was at the University of Chicago Medical Center campus on Monday to talk about biomedical research. When asked about the trauma Center, he said it wasn’t an easy question.
“To say, ‘Let’s go open a trauma center two miles from here’ is not a casual decision. It has to be done very carefully, with a dramatic investment. So I don’t want to push them into something that is not practical,” Durbin said. “I understand the community concerns, because of all the violence and bloodshed, but we need to look at this in honest terms.”
The senator said he hasn’t talked with U of C officials, so he doesn’t know all the facts about what it would take to open an adult trauma center there.
“It’s a big and important investment, and they’ve made commitments to investments on this campus of this hospital, and this university,” Durbin said.
The South Side of Chicago has no adult trauma centers at any hospitals. The only hospital in southern Cook County with a Level 1 trauma center is Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, 10 miles away.