​UChicago Medicine treats 274 adult trauma patients in first month

UChicago Medicine cared for 274 adult trauma patients during its first four weeks as a Level 1 trauma center, an average of nine patients a day.

“We are pleased to report that clinical care and operational support services continue to run smoothly as we serve trauma patients and their families,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago. “This is a testament to the enormous amount of planning, training and collaboration that went into the launch of adult trauma services.”

UChicago Medicine began offering Level 1 adult trauma care May 1. The academic medical center has had Level 1 pediatric trauma care since 1990, but hasn’t offered adult trauma services since 1988.

The first month’s volume was in line with earlier planning estimates that were developed as UChicago Medicine worked toward taking on an expanded role in the city’s trauma system.

Meanwhile, at UChicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital, 32 pediatric patients were treated during the same May 1-29 period. That makes a total of 306 adult and pediatric trauma patients who were seen at UChicago Medicine. (For context, the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, which is part of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, averages 415 trauma patients per month.)

During the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend, UChicago Medicine treated 44 adult trauma patients. Meanwhile, 11 pediatric trauma patients were seen at UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital over the same three-day period.

During the initial four weeks of adult trauma care, 62 percent of trauma activations were for patients who had blunt-force injuries often associated with car crashes, motorcycle accidents and serious falls. About 38 percent were for penetrating injuries.

“The tremendous experience, teamwork and dedication of our multidisciplinary care teams — spanning trauma, radiology, anesthesia, orthopaedic surgery, nursing and emergency medicine — has delivered a level of care that is a source of pride for all at UChicago Medicine,” Polonsky said. “In addition to the work of these clinical teams, we are particularly gratified by the support of the entire UChicago Medicine enterprise as faculty, staff and students work together to ensure our caregivers have the supplies, efficient processes and the best environment to provide outstanding trauma care.”

Now, UChicago Medicine is working to ensure the system of trauma care meets the needs of the greater Chicago community. Through the Urban Health Initiative, the academic health system is partnering with and supporting community organizations to provide trauma patients and their families with wraparound services, violence-recovery efforts and services that ensure they fully recover from traumatic injuries.

“We look forward to continuing to build on the lessons learned in our first month,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “And we thank everyone involved for their excellent work in expanding trauma care to the community.