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U. of C.'s New Trauma Center Will Open May 1 After Years Of Community Pleas

By Sam Cholke | June 7, 2017 11:00am | Updated on June 7, 2017 12:01pm
 The University of Chicago Medicine's trauma center is expected to open May 8.
The University of Chicago Medicine's trauma center is expected to open May 8.
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DNAInfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago Medicine will begin offering trauma care services for adults less than a year from now at a new emergency room that will open early next year, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

The new emergency room is expected to open on Jan. 8, with trauma care services starting on May 1, according to the university.

The facility being built currently on the first floor of a parking garage at 5656 S. Maryland Ave. is expected to be far enough along by September that hospital staff can move equipment in and start doing dry runs to prepare for the trauma center.

The university announced plans in December 2015 for the emergency room and trauma care services, which offer immediate care to the most severely injured patients like gunshot wound or car crash victims. The surrounding communities long sought a trauma center at U. of C. to shorten the travel time for severely injured people on the South Side.

When the plan was first announced, hospital administrators said it could take until 2020 to open the trauma center, which is expected to treat up to 2,700 patients a year.

The new schedule has shortened as the university has started to hire staff, including Dr. Selwyn Rogers as the trauma center director in January.

Five of the six necessary trauma surgeons have now been hired, according to the medical center.

The trauma center opening will be contingent on a review by the Illinois Department of Health, which is expected to happen next spring.

If the trauma center hits that May 8 opening date, it will open just shy of eight years since calls began in earnest for the university to open a trauma center. Groups lead by Woodlawn activists staged five years of protests before the university unveiled its plan to resume trauma care services it suspended in the '80s.

But since committing to opening the trauma center, the university has taken up some of the same positions as the protesters, with Rogers reinvigorating the medical center's efforts to curb the causes of violence.