After years of fighting for an adult trauma center, the South Side will finally get one at Holy Cross Hospital.
Sinai Health System and the University of Chicago Medicine announced Thursday they are partnering to renovate and expand Holy Cross Hospital’s emergency department and build a state-of-the-art Level 1 adult trauma center.
“Holy Cross, at 68th Street and California Avenue, is near some of the highest incidence of trauma injury and gun violence in the city,” according to a news release posted on the University of Chicago Medicine website.
For years, activists have sought the trauma center, citing the distance to other areas for care and how it has negatively affected the odds of survival for victims of violence-plagued communities.
Sheila Rush told NBC Chicago her 17-year-old son, Damian, was shot and killed in a random drive-by incident just a few blocks from the University of Chicago hospital. Damian was transported 10 miles away to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died, but Rush believes he would still be alive if the trauma center were closer.
"We have listened to trauma protesters, and we share in the belief in the need for trauma services. The question all along has been, how do we best approach adding this service to the community?" Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, said.
University of Chicago Medicine will help fund the new trauma center at Holy Cross Hospital, which is estimated to cost around $40 million, according to the news release.
Sinai Health System, which operates a trauma center at Mount Sinai Hospital, will provide specialists dedicated to trauma care, including emergency department physicians, anesthesiologists, and nursing staff, along with trauma care support services at Holy Cross Hospital, which is part of the Sinai Health System.
University of Chicago Medicine will provide specialists dedicated to trauma care, neurological, orthopedic and plastic surgeons, urologists and other areas.
“This partnership will strengthen their longstanding commitment to their communities and proves once again why these institutions are an asset to our great city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in U. of C. Medicine statement.
The approval process and construction are expected to take at least two years.
According to the news release, “Both organizations will use that time to recruit additional highly trained medical staff, nurses and other healthcare professionals to work with existing specialists from both institutions at the new trauma center. Next steps also include meetings with community leaders to develop companion community programs focused on wellness and prevention.”
In addition to the new adult trauma center at Holy Cross, University of Chicago Medicine plans to increase access to emergency services on its Hyde Park campus by expanding and building a state-of-the-art adult emergency department.
“We are bringing together the best to do the most,” Sinai Health System President and CEO Karen Teitelbaum said in the statement. “Since Holy Cross became part of our health care network in 2013, we have been seeking ways to expand its reach, especially when it comes to acute care and violence prevention. Bringing the expertise and resources of the University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System together, we can do exponentially more for all of the communities on the south and southwest side of the city.”