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Southwest Side 'Disappointed' That Trauma Center Won't Open at Holy Cross

 Instead of Holy Cross Hospital getting what would have been the first adult trauma center on the South Side, the University of Chicago is getting it.
Instead of Holy Cross Hospital getting what would have been the first adult trauma center on the South Side, the University of Chicago is getting it.
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ENGLEWOOD — The announcement that the University of Chicago will build a trauma center means one proposed for Holy Cross Hospital is no longer happening, which has left some in the West Englewood and Chicago Lawn community feeling “disappointed.”

Instead of coming to the Chicago Lawn neighborhood near Marquette Park, the center is now proposed for Hyde Park.

Plans to build a $40-million Level 1 adult trauma center at 2701 W. 68th St. were first announced Sept. 10 in a joint news release from University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System. The two institutions were working together to help fund and staff the facility. UChicago Medicine said it would fund the renovation and expansion of Holy Cross Hospital's emergency department and Sinai Health System would have provided the personnel needed for the upgrades.

But those plans were scrapped, officials said Thursday.

“Earlier this fall, University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System announced a proposed partnership to offer Level 1 adult trauma care at Holy Cross Hospital, part of Sinai's network,” read a joint news release the two institutions put out Thursday.

“While both entities were enthused about creating a unique collaborative approach, UChicago has concluded that integrating an adult Level 1 trauma center with its Level 1 pediatric trauma program, and Burn and Complex Wound Center, would be of great benefit to South Side patients."

"We recognize Sinai's experience and excellence in trauma care. At the end of the day, we realized that integrating all of these services on one site, on our campus, made the most sense for South Side patients."

Ghian Foreman, Executive Director of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, said he had high hopes of the adult trauma center coming to the Southwest Side.

“As a representative for the Southwest side, it’s disappointing that it’s not coming [here], but someone was going to be disappointed wherever it was located,” he said. “We think this side of town is great and it was going to be a great opportunity for a lot of great partnerships, but it’s not happening so we’ll continue to work with the University of Chicago.”

The Rev. Dwayne Grant, pastor of Xperience Church Chicago in Hillside, is a community activist for Englewood and a member of the Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, or SOUL. He said the Marquette Park and West Englewood communities needed the adult trauma center more than Hyde Park.  

“My my first reaction was, ‘Horrible news,’” he said. “We got all of these murders [and shootings] going on, and it was finally looking like someone was hearing us. Now they’re just turning their backs on our community again. ... This is horrible for our community."

He said Holy Cross would have a been a better location for it “because it’s right there in the neighborhood where the shootings are going on, and it just makes more sense to have a trauma center right where trauma is actually happening."

He said Hyde Park isn’t a “high priority” neighborhood. After talking to residents, he believes the community wanted the trauma center at Holy Cross.

The Resident Association of Greater Englewood agreed.

"When we got the news that it may be at Holy Cross, of course everyone was ecstatic that it would come to an area that deals with violence, unfortunately on a daily basis," group president Asiaha Butler said.

She said that her organization would like to see a trauma center at both hospitals, but if the decision was left to the Greater Englewood community, Holy Cross would be the selection.

"Yeah, there's one coming to the South Side, but we think it should be in an area that deals with violence the most," she said.

The U. of C. said it will expand its emergency department and add more inpatient beds to address current capacity constraints and improve access to care. The medical center will request additional hospital beds for specialty care such as cancer, trauma and emergency services.

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