CHICAGO (CBS) — The University of Chicago has submitted plans for a new trauma center, as part of a larger expansion of the Hyde Park hospital campus.
The plan submitted to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board would include three components: a relocated, larger emergency room; a new Level 1 adult trauma center; and a new dedicated cancer treatment facility.
If state regulators approve the request, the University of Chicago’s hospital system would have nearly 800 beds by the time the expansion is completed. That would increase the size of the hospital to what it was in the late 1970s.
The $269 million expansion plan includes a new Level 1 adult trauma center that South Side residents have long demanded, and it increases the number of beds at the hospital by 30 percent.
Activists said, more importantly, it would save lives, because trauma victims on the South Side would no longer have to be transported long distances to the nearest Level 1 trauma centers.
The trauma center would be part of a new, larger emergency department closer to the new Center for Care and Discovery, which opened three years ago at 57th Street and Maryland Avenue. The current emergency room is in the older Mitchell Hospital, at 58th Street and Maryland, which will become a dedicated cancer center.
The university said the expansion project would create more than 1,000 permanent jobs and 400 construction jobs.
The plan for a new Level 1 trauma center at the University of Chicago hospital campus was first made in December, when the university made the surprise announcement it was halting plans to open a trauma center at Holy Cross Hospital.
The South Side has been without a Level 1 adult trauma center for more than 20 years, since the now-shuttered Michael Reese Hospital closed its center in 1991. Since then, South Side residents in need to critical emergency room care had to be transported as far at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Streeterville, Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in the Illinois Medical District, or Mount Sinai Hospital near Douglas Park.