Cook County Hospital’s Trauma Unit is one of the largest trauma units in the United States. It was also one of the first comprehensive trauma units. In 1966, Dr. Robert Freeark and Dr. Robert Baker conceived of a comprehensive trauma unit. This unit would provide a continuum of care for all seriously injured trauma patients beginning in the prehospital and resuscitation phases, through operative and post-operative or post-injury care and continuing on to the outpatient and rehabilitation settings. All phases of care are represented among our medical staff. The patient is cared for by the same team of physicians from their initial encounter in the resuscitation area throughout their hospital stay. Continuing the theme of comprehensive care, the same trauma nursing team works in the Trauma Resuscitation area, the Trauma observation area, and the Trauma Intensive Care Unit.
The original Cook County Trauma Unit was located in a renovated physician’s dining room on the third floor of the old Cook County hospital. In December of 2002, we moved into the new state-of-the-art John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Trauma is located on the first floor near the Emergency Department. The Trauma Resuscitation area is, however, completely separate from the Emergency Department.
We have 15 resuscitation beds as well as a shock room. Most X-rays are done in our unit with the exception of CT scanning and angiography.
All seriously injured trauma patients are brought directly to our Resuscitation area. Last year we treated over 5700 patients including pediatric trauma and burn patients.
The Trauma Intensive Care Unit is a 12-bed unit adjacent to the resuscitation area. The same team of physicians and nurses cares for patients in both areas. We admit over 600 patients per year to our Intensive Care Unit.
We also have a 10-bed Trauma observation area where we can monitor those patients who require frequent assessment during the first 24 hours post injury.
The Burn Unit has a 6-bed intensive care unit and up to 12 convalescent beds. Almost 400 patients were admitted last year with thermal, chemical and electrical burns as well as diseases such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, and all types of complicated soft tissue wounds.
The Department of Trauma has 9 full-time attending trauma/burn surgeons, 1 clinical trauma fellow. 1 research fellow. and 1 research coordinator. Our trauma registry functions are carried out by a surveillance team consisting of 4 abstractors who are supervised by a nurse epidemiologist.
Academically, we are a section of the Department of General Surgery at Rush University.
Inside Cook County Trauma
The Department of Trauma contains the following divisions:
- Division of Burn Surgery
- Division of Pre-Hospital & Resuscitation
- Division of Critcal Care
- Divsion of Research & Education
- Complicated Soft Tissue Infections
- Critical Care
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Violence Prevention
- Complex Abdominal Wounds.