Trauma Center Activists Say U of C Broke Promise Made One Year Ago to Raise Age Limit of Pediatric Trauma Center

Trauma Center Activists will hold a press conference December 9th, 2015 at 4:30pm at 58th Street and S. Maryland Ave 

CHICAGO, IL – One year ago, December 9, 2014, the University of Chicago announced that it would raise the age limit of their pediatric trauma center from 16 up to 18. Last year, U of C Hospital President Sharon O’Keefe said it would take approximately one year to begin treating 17 and 18 year old patients. Since those statements, trauma center activists said U of C has done nothing to follow through on this commitment.

Activists will hold a press conference outside of the hospital demanding that the U of C make good on their commitment to raise the age limit.

Victoria Crider, a Woodlawn youth organizer and leader of the trauma center campaign, explained that “the U of C has broken a promise to the community and by doing this is saying that black lives don’t matter to them.”

On December 17, the Region 11 Trauma Committee, a committee which can vote trauma center expansions up or down, will hold a meeting, however, sources say that raising the age limit of U of C’s pediatric trauma center is not on the agenda. Joseph Albanese, a representative from the Illinois Department of Public Health has said that “The U of C indicated they needed to recruit and train surgeons specifically for its proposal to raise the age of pediatric trauma patients it will accept.  IDPH has not been notified that U of C is fully prepared to implement the proposal.” In other words, the ball is in U of C’s court and they have done nothing.

The University of Chicago recently gained some goodwill from the community by committing to invest in a trauma center at Holy Cross, however the apparent decision to renege on raising the age limit of the pediatric trauma center threatens to undermine this goodwill. Victoria Crider noted that “even with the trauma center at Holy Cross young people on the south east side will still be over 5 miles from a trauma center, the U of C needs to make good on its commitment to raise the age limit to save these young people’s lives, in fact they must go further and raise the age limit up to 21 to save as many lives as they can. Like the Laquan McDonald shooting, this is another example of our institutions saying that they do not value black life. We have been protesting the shooting of Laquan McDonald and will protest the U of C until they show that they value black life.”

The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Woodlawn youth leader Damian Turner, and is led by the Woodlawn-based Fearless Leading by the Youth, along with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Students for Health Equity at the UofC, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the National Nurses United and an interfaith leadership committee that includes several churches. The call for trauma care is also supported by research by Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern Hospital on “Trauma Deserts” which shows that longer travel times to a trauma center increase the likelihood of dying.

Trauma Center community and student activists including youth organizers, mothers, clergy, college and high school students will hold a press conference and delegation on 1 year anniversary of promise to raise age limit of pediatric trauma center

When/Where: December 9th, 2015, 4:30pm at 58th Street and S. Maryland Ave

Recent stories on the trauma center campaign:

UofC Wants to Raise Age Limit at Pediatric Trauma Center,” The Chicago Sun-Times

UofC Aims to Expand Treatment at Children’s Trauma Center,” The Chicago Tribune

South Side Hospital Patients Caught in Trauma Deserts,” (Feature Story), Chicago Tribune

Why This Hospital Turned a 18-Year Old Away After He Was Shot,” The Huffington Post