Legislative Hearing to be Convened on Need for Southland Level 1 Trauma Center

vernardAt my urgent request, Representative Will Davis, Chairman, of the Committee on Health and Health Care Disparity of Illinois, has agreed to convene an official hearing to discuss the need for a Level 1 Trauma Center in the South Suburban Region. The hearing will be held in April. The time and place will be announced soon.

Background & History

Physical trauma is defined as a blunt, penetrating or burn injury that requires immediate medical treatment in order for the person who has sustained such injury to survive.
As we have experienced continued growth in the Southland, the need for a quick response to address physical trauma is critical. The Village of Hazel Crest has within its boundaries Advocate South Suburban hospital, a part of the largest health care organization in the state of Illinois, Advocate Healthcare Systems.
South of Hazel Crest is Saint James hospital which has two campuses, one in Chicago Heights and another in Olympia Fields. To the North of Hazel Crest we have Ingalls hospital located in Harvey. None of these four hospitals are Level 1 Trauma Centers. Saint James of Olympia Fields was a trauma center but, pulled their certifications many years ago.
So why no Level 1 Trauma Center in the South Suburbs? Well, there has been some discussion on the matter, and some of the reasons given for not having a Level 1 Trauma Center are:

  1. Advocate Christ Hospital is close enough to handle any physical trauma in the Southland.
  2. The establishment and staffing of a Level 1 Trauma Center in the Southland is too costly for any of the hospitals to maintain.

So how do we address these issues? I respond to those concerns with two questions:

  1. If a car accident occurs on the south end of I-57 near University Park with multiple life threatening injuries to citizens, can they be transferred by ambulance to Advocate Christ Hospital on 95th street in Oak Lawn in enough time to save lives?
  2. What value do we put on the lives lost via physical trauma in the South Suburbs? Is it the same as what we put on lives in West Suburban communities, or the North side of Chicago?

Recently, I know of one family who lost a son due to a car accident. Could he have been saved if we had a Level 1 Trauma Center at one of the four hospitals in the South Suburbs? I pray that was not the case.

I will also be discussing the importance of this issue and requesting support from other area legislative leaders including: Congresswoman Robin Kelly, State Representative Al Riley, State Senators Michael Hastings and Napoleon Harris, Cook County Commissioner Debra Simms and the Southland Mayors to revisit this issue. It is important and speaks directly to the growth of the Southland and the safety of our communities.

On behalf of the residents of the Village of Hazel Crest and the Southland, I would like to thank Representative Davis for his leadership on this important issue.

Vernard L. Alsberry, Jr.

President Village of Hazel Crest