Cook County Trauma Unit, first of its kind in U.S., celebrates 50th year
Cook County recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Cook County Trauma Unit at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.
Founded in 1966, the trauma unit was the first of its kind in the U.S.
“The Cook County Trauma Unit is a national leader in the field, saving lives when time matters most," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. "I am proud Cook County has led the way for the rapid extension of trauma centers around the country and the development of best practices in treating traumatic injury patients."
The trauma unit became the model for comprehensive trauma care, with a dedicated team of surgeons, doctors and nurses ready to treat critical cases. Its success led to the creation of local and state EMS systems.
“Importantly, the team cares for the whole person, and frankly, the whole family," Cook County Health and Hospitals System CEO Dr. Jay Shannon said. "While the initial focus is on saving lives, the ongoing challenge is often mending broken lives, families and spirits that have been torn apart by the unpredictable calamity that trauma can bring."
The trauma unit was created by Drs. Robert Freeark and Robert Baker, who were inspired by Austrian hospitals built specifically to treat car-crash victims. Their brainchild has led to "resurrection medicine" – saving lives that would have been lost before the existence of trauma units.