Protestors Hope To Pitch Obama On U of C Trauma Center

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    A group of U of C students and medical personnel hope Obama hears their pleas for a Level 1 trauma center. NBC 5's Nesita Kwan reports.

    A group of University of Chicago students and doctors hope President Barack Obama hears their pleas for a South Side trauma center during his hometown visit Thursday.

    The students camped out in a Gold Coast neighborhood Thursday hoping to deliver a letter when his motorcade arrives for a fundraiser.

    "The closest trauma center that anyone who is traumatically injured must travel to can be more than 45 minutes away," protestor Alexssa Moore said.

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    The group has been protesting all week, demanding a Level 1 trauma center for the University of Chicago Medical Center. Without it, victims of gun shot wounds and other serious injuries have to travel much further to get help.

    "This is a trauma center desert, and this is a public health problem," U of C Dr. Phil Verhoef said. "The amount of time it takes to get to a trauma center is really critical toward how people actually do in recovering from their trauma."

    University of Chicago officials point out they do have a pediatric Level 1 trauma center for children up to the age of 15 and the only burn unit on the South Side.

    U of C officials also say almost all South Side patients arrive at trauma centers in under 20 minutes, well within the time experts say is necessary to save lives.