Author: UChicago Medicine

Blood transfusion process sees improvements

Medical Technologist Jo Ann Quindipan issues red blood cells in the UCM blood bank.

In an effort to improve the speed with which medical staff are able to respond to critically injured patients in need of blood transfusion, UChicago Medicine has invested resources to revamp a system that will enhance the reliability of blood product pack delivery and improve critical care response times.

‘It Takes a Village’ To Operate a Trauma Center

Dr. Doug Ross (played by George Clooney on the TV series ER) read his own scans, cared for both adults and children, and performed procedures outside of his specialty.

In reality, one physician can’t do it all in a busy urban trauma center.

“Operating a Level 1 trauma center takes a village,” said Selwyn Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, Director, Trauma Center. “Trauma is not a place or people, it embodies everything we do, and more.”

Physician leaders across UChicago Medicine are involved in discussions and preparations as their clinical staff and trainees prepare to provide high-quality, high-touch trauma care to patients when the Level 1 adult trauma center opens next May (pending IDPH approval).

Here’s what some of our clinical leaders say about the impact of the new trauma center on their area and in the community:

“Caring for injured patients, whether from a car crash or a sports injury or any other cause, is at the heart of orthopaedic practice and is an integral part of what we have always done. We estimate the Level 1 Trauma Center will add about 900 orthopaedic surgeries annually — a roughly 20 percent increase from our current yearly surgical volume. Each of these surgical procedures will be an opportunity for our orthopaedic residents to participate in surgery, so this will be a solid boost to our educational program and will make our residents’ experience in trauma among the best in the nation.”

Douglas R. Dirschl, MD
Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine

Caring for trauma patients requires clinicians to address acute problems, to think on their feet and to operate and/or perform more proficiently. The opening of the Level 1 trauma center will raise the clinical excellence across the continuum of our institution — in surgery, radiology, nursing, emergency care, and more.  It will help us create an even more robust and efficient delivery system. The impact will be positive for our trainees and all involved in the delivery of clinical care.”

Mitchell C. Posner, MD
Chief, Section of General Surgery

“There is significant opportunity to understand and prevent trauma whether it’s emphasizing driving safety or violence prevention. The potential to positively impact a larger group of patients and their families is humbling. The Level 1 Trauma Center will enhance residency training with greater exposure to serious facial trauma. We will increase the efficiency of our processes, ranging from things such as time from the trauma bay to the OR to discharge planning/length of stay.”

Nishant Agrawal, MD
Chief, Section of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

“Opening a Level 1 Trauma Center is an extraordinary opportunity for University of Chicago to help better the lives of patients on the South Side.  As we track and study the care of trauma patients, we will improve the care of individuals affected by violence and trauma.”

David Frim, MD, PhD
Chief, Section of Neurosurgery

“A Level 1 trauma center will bring a higher volume of patients and more complexity in cases to the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  We have dedicated craniofacial, maxillofacial and microsurgical (for soft tissue damage) plastic surgeons on our staff, all who will contribute to the care of trauma patients.  And we anticipate growth in our program to meet the needs of the individuals affected by trauma.

David W. Chang, MD
Chief, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

By Gretchen Rubin

University of Chicago Medicine

New surgeons arrive for adult trauma care

Five acclaimed trauma, acute care and critical care surgeons have arrived at UChicago Medicine ahead of the May 1, 2018, launch of adult trauma care. These surgeons will join Selwyn Rogers, MD, MPH, founding director of the Trauma Center, and Gary An, MD, a current trauma faculty member, in serving the community and providing care for patients.

Our journey to adult trauma care

After almost three decades, the University of Chicago Medicine will provide adult trauma services for the communities on the South Side of Chicago beginning in May. With a commitment to excellence in patient care, knowledge generation, and education, the University of Chicago Medicine Trauma Center will engage our communities to not only meet the clinical needs of adults affected by falls, motor vehicle collisions or violence but also address prevention and holistic recovery. I am humbled to lead this effort that will require broad partnerships inside and outside the hospital’s walls to provide the highest quality of care to all patients. 

Key messages about the new Level I Trauma Center

Introduction to adult trauma care:

  • A trauma center is not a physical wing of a hospital, it is the entire hospital.
  • A trauma center is a state-certified hospital that has the specialized staff and equipment to treat victims of traumatic injury.
  • Designated trauma centers are hospitals that are specially equipped to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary medical services to trauma victims. Trauma centers are typically classified as Level 1, 2 or 3 based on the resources, equipment and specialists provided, as well as the trauma volume and research and educational commitment.
  • The most common causes of traumatic injuries include serious falls, serious head injuries, motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds and serious burns.
  • Emergency care covers a broad set of services, handling a very wide spectrum of conditions that range anywhere from a sprained ankle, to a heart attack or stroke, severe stomach pains, burns, bleeding, or respiratory distress. UChicago Medicine will continue to care for these conditions every day.
  • Victims of trauma often require care provided outside of the emergency room, including, but not limited to, operating rooms, intensive care units, physical therapy, med-surg, social work, radiology and blood bank.
  • The care of trauma patients spans all services of the hospital.
  • A highly effective, multidisciplinary trauma care program depends on nurses, social workers, mental health providers, family advocates, violence interrupters and recovery specialists, care coordinators, and others.
  • The state requires Level I trauma care providers to have these surgical and non-surgical services available at any given time:
    • Adult trauma surgery
    • Obstetrics
    • Pediatric surgery
    • Orthopedic
    • Opthalmologic
    • Oral-Dental
    • Otorhinolarygologic
    • Plastic/maxillofacial
    • Urologic
    • Reimplantation service or transfer agreement
    • Neurosurgical
    • Cardiology
    • Internal Medicine
    • Pediatrics
    • Pulmonary
    • Nephrology
    • Burn Center staffed by RN trained in burn care
    • Acute spinal cord injury management
    • Cardiothoracic
    • Psychiatry
    • Operating room availability


Activating adult trauma services at the University of Chicago Medicine:

  • We plan to launch adult Level 1 adult trauma services on May 1, 2018.
  • The geographic location of the University of Chicago Medicine will allow us to serve patients who currently travel further away from the South Side for adult trauma care.
  • Our vision for the UCM trauma center is to provide our communities, patients and their families with high-quality, high-touch trauma care through clinical excellence and integrated recovery and outreach programs, while enlarging the reservoir of knowledge through medical education, research, and community collaboration.
  • Our new adult emergency department includes four specialized trauma resuscitation bays.
  • The new ED will also have an imaging facility dedicated to ED and trauma patients.
  • We are now actively recruiting the additional trauma faculty and building the team to support the program, develop the policies and protocols.
  • On March 1, the Medical Center will submit a completed trauma action plan to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This details the Medical Center’s plans for managing care of trauma patients.
  • By April 13, representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health will conduct a site visit to the hospital to certify that it has met the requirements for providing adult trauma care. This is the final step for IDPH approval of UCMC as a trauma center.
  • Pending IDPH approval, on May 1, 2018, UCMC will begin treating adults who have suffered injuries from serious falls, motor vehicle crashes, major head injuries, violent crimes and other emergencies.
  • Trauma medical directors from EMS Region XI have unanimously endorsed UChicago Medicine’s plans to become an adult Level I Trauma Center.
  • We aspire to have our center accredited by the American College of Surgeons. It will require rigorous testing of our practices, protocols and staff to earn and maintain this accreditation of our trauma services once we launch them.
  • The Medical Center must continuously improve the quality of its care in order to maintain trauma care accreditation.

Milestones in the creation of our adult Level I Trauma Center:

  • We have hired six world-class trauma faculty.
  • A nursing clinical director of trauma services, Debra Allen, joined UCMC in March.
  • Trauma care simulation and team building exercises are underway.
  • Site visits to other trauma centers, such as Loyola Medicine in Chicago and Brigham and Women’s in Boston, have been completed and more are planned.
  • We’re developing administrative and program support roles.
  • To create the trauma center, we’ve created three interdisciplinary work teams around major phases of patient care (arrival/ED, procedural services and inpatient care/discharge)
  • We are conducting Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs) to begin patient flow process design; teams are identifying and prioritizing resource needs.
  • Core faculty positions have been posted and are being processed according to BSD procedures.
  • Discussions around graduate medical education options are underway.
  • David Crump, our violence recovery program manager is working in the hospital. He will handle outreach to the community and work inside the Medical Center to improve continuity of care for victims and families of gun violence.

Trauma care and how it makes the whole hospital better:

  • We will establish a culture of trauma care. This means we won’t see trauma cases as a crisis. Trauma care as our normal way of providing care will make UChicago Medicine more efficient in all areas of patient care.
  • The care we provide for victims of trauma will ultimately elevate the care we provide for all of our patients.
  • We anticipate a state-of-the-art center that will provide high quality personalized care for acutely ill traumatized people.
  • Using technology, we will treat each and every patient, each and every day, as if he or she were our family member—not a victim or a perpetrator.
  • We’re already a 24-7 operation, but the sense of urgency around emergent cases will escalate.
  • Trauma care will require the involvement of the right people (including those who perform functions outside of the Emergency Department), new and revised policies and protocols, programs that will be new to UCMC, a heightened level of teamwork, and new and refined systems of care.
  • A trauma center in which we treat multiple emergencies at one time will require us to create backup systems and redundancies. This will become our normal way of providing care.
  • The UChicago Medicine Community Advisory Council will be important advisors related to partnerships and our strategy to address community health needs, which includes violence prevention efforts.
  • We encourage you to actively consider how a trauma center at UCM will affect how you currently do your work and plan accordingly.
  • As we identify any gaps, we will listen attentively and act deliberately to safely launch the Trauma Center.
Crushers Club

UChicago Medicine awards grants to local grassroots violence prevention programs

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) has awarded seven capacity-building grants to provide immediate support to existing community-based violence prevention, intervention, and recovery efforts on Chicago’s South Side.

The grant money will allow the selected community organizations to fund new counselors, new equipment, and  program expansion to include more participants. The grants are designed to support programs that will help create safer spaces during the summer.