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August 22, 1966

Hospital Meets Emergency Overload

JAMA. 1966;197(8):32-33. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110080022008

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Ward 32, Cook County Hospital, Chicago, July 4th weekend... in one 14 hour period, special "shock teams" treated 40 emergency patients, some admitted in groups of three and four. All had stab or gunshot wounds, or both.

Most were in hypovolemic shock due to gastrointestinal bleeding or penetrating wounds of the liver, spleen, kidney, or major arteries.

115 Patients Treated  Before the four-day holiday weekend was over, 115 patients—59 "stabbings and shootings" and the others victims of auto accidents or various types of blunt trauma— were treated in Ward 32, the hospital's newly established trauma unit.According to Robert J. Baker, MD, chief of the unit: "It's not unusual to have 70 to 75 such admissions in the unit during regular 48-hour weekends."Cook County Hospital is located in the city's near west side, within a mile or two of areas of recent racial disturbances, and not far from sites