University of Chicago Medical Center now offering special resources to violence victims

"This is a huge step forward."

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Chicago hospital now offering special support to violence victims
The University of Chicago Medical Center is adding a new element to patient recovery specifically for trauma victims.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The University of Chicago Medical Center is adding a new element to patient recovery specifically for victims of trauma.

A partnership with Legal Aid Chicago and the help of $2.6 million in grants is now providing additional resources to victims of violence.

"That's things like gunshot wounds, stabbing, other types of penetrating trauma," Legal Aid Chicago staff attorney Carly Loughran said, "often what we kind of think as community violence."

The University of Chicago says its trauma center has treated more than 20,000 patients, and about 40% of those are victims of gun violence.

"As we have taken care of these patients, one of the things we've been very cognizant of is what are the needs of patients beyond the very important clinical needs," said Dr. Selwyn Rogers, founding director of UIC Medicine's trauma center.

The program is already underway with patients in that trauma center getting helped in recent weeks. They get access to legal and financial resources, as well as benefits for their family to keep living as their loved one recovers.

"We wait until they're moved to the inpatient side," Loughran explained. "We obviously want to make sure they're medically stable and in the headspace to talk to us, but we'll see them maybe two or three days after they've been in the hospital."

The need for help like this is critical not only in Chicago, but all across the U.S. And the University of Chicago Medical Center is hoping to be a pioneer for other trauma centers with this program by showing that more can be done for patients treated nationwide.

"We are acquiring data, we are trying to understand what works, what doesn't work, amplifying the things that work and finally becoming a national model," Dr. Rogers said.

The program is set to go on for at least five years, with the expectation of 150 patients receiving these resources within the first year.