UChicago Medicine begins Level 1 Adult Trauma Care

UChicago Medicine campus aerial

The University of Chicago Medicine began providing adult trauma care on May 1, 2018, with the first patient being brought by ambulance at noon, signaling the official activation of its Level 1 Adult Trauma Center and marking another achievement by the organization.

Within a seven-day period that began April 24, UChicago Medicine announced it had earned its 13th sequential “A” rating in patient safety from industry watchdog Leapfrog Group; two days later, it achieved Magnet Recognition status, the gold standard for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care, from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

"The events of the past seven days are testimony to the tremendous strides UChicago Medicine has made over the past several years to be a stronger academic health system for its community, patients and their families," said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean and executive vice president of medical affairs at UChicago. "We thank each and every one of our faculty and staff for their hard work in getting this organization to this point."

The adult trauma program adds to UChicago Medicine's pediatric trauma and burn services, providing the community a comprehensive system of care to treat the full range of trauma injuries in patients of all ages.

"Today represents the culmination of years of advocacy, planning and partnership," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a public statement released early this afternoon. "I commend the community members, advocates, University of Chicago and their health care partners for working together in a coordinated, collaborative effort to ensure equity in essential medical services and that the highest quality health care is in close reach of every resident of Chicago."

Since announcing plans to become a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center in December 2015, UChicago Medicine staff have logged thousands of hours preparing to provide care to trauma patients. It has hired additional employees, including 18 experienced trauma professionals from around the country. Interdisciplinary teams have been developing wraparound services to support trauma patients and their families, and newly crafted internal policies and procedures tweak everything from laboratory testing protocols to blood bank operations.

"All three of these achievements are further validation of our efforts to improve quality, safety and service to our patients,  faculty and staff collaboration, and employee and community engagement," said Sharon O'Keefe, president of the medical center.