Chicago: Hospital Stops Accepting Patients After Trauma Center Is Overwhelmed

August 5, 2019 Updated: August 5, 2019

Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital temporarily stopped accepting patients on the morning of Aug. 4 because they were at maximum capacity following several shootings.

The Chicago Tribune reported that seven people died and 48 were wounded in Chicago’s most violent weekend of 2018.

At one point, on Sunday morning, 17 people were shot in hours in a two-mile area on Chicago’s West Side.

In one shooting, seven people were shot in an apparent drive-by shooting at Douglas Park near a playground, according to news reports. On the other side of the park, an hour later, two women were shot. A few blocks away, eight people were hurt in a shooting about one hour later, the Tribune reported.

Mount Sinai Hospital, located on the West Side, closed its doors for a period of time to new patients due to the rash of shootings and accidents, Fox News reported. The facility went on bypass at 4:30 a.m. and were off bypass status by 6:30 a.m.

“As a result of all of those patients from a capacity standpoint we made a decision to go on bypass for a period of time,” the spokeswoman said.

The term “bypass” means that a hospital will ask emergency vehicles to take patients to other hospitals in the area.

Roberta Rakove, senior vice president of external affairs, told Fox that the Douglas Park mass shooting and two car accidents prompted the closure.

“All Level 1 trauma centers were overwhelmed, but we all managed,” Rakove added of the previous year’s shootings, CNN reported. “This weekend was not that kind of weekend, but it was enough.”

Police Chief Eddie Johnson addressed the press about the shootings and made note of the massacres in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

An ambulance believed to be carrying an injured Chicago police officer departs Mercy Hospital Nov. 19, 2018. Multiple people were reported shot on the Near South Side. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

“You have to stop yourself and ask what will it take before we get a handle on what’s going on,” Johnson said, according to the network. “Not only in Chicago, but across the country.”

He added: “From police departments to the court systems to prosecutors to legislators … we have to come together and figure out more common-sense solutions to these problems because clearly too many of our citizens are being shot and killed.”

Facts About Crime in the United States

Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).

The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.

The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.

The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.

While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend.

Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.