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.
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.