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December 13, 2012
12 Days of Trauma May Break the Bank for Most, Says Loyola Trauma Chief
Dont Pack Heat This Winter Is Doctors Advice for Gun-Weary Chicago
MAYWOOD, Ill. - Americans are reporting they plan to spend an average of $854 this year on holiday gifts, but that is pennies compared with the cost of an unplanned trip to the Emergency Department.
“Drinking and fighting during the holidays are two primary factors that drive up encounters with Loyola’s Trauma Center and the cost can be financially, physically and emotionally staggering,” said Dr. Thomas Esposito, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center. “The small cost of consuming several drinks or buying some bullets to load your gun can escalate into the astronomical price of an injury that could effectively cost you your life and your loved ones their life savings."
Dr. Esposito tallied up the cost of some common holiday injuries he sees in the Loyola Trauma program to the tune of that popular holiday song. “On the 12 days of Christmas, or any time of the year, we’d like to see no money spent on injury care—but only on safe and fun things,” said Esposito, who often is on-call during the holiday season.
The representative cases which follow were chosen randomly from Loyola’s trauma patient database and each dollar amount shown is the total for that number of cases with each type of injury. Those totals include the usual and customary charges for services and supplies such as drugs, hospital room and procedures, among others.
Cost of Loyola’s 12 Days of Holiday Trauma:
12 Trauma Patients - $9, 924,347.79
11 Bones-a-Broken - $7, 271,721.49
10 Traffic Tragedies - $1,857,479.59
9 Knifed Warriors - $2,210,873.50
8 Skaters Skating - $216,982.69
7 Shattered Spleens - $2,762,241.59
6 From a Shooting - $3,242,682.19
5 Fighting Fools - $1,451,462.25
4 Females Falling - $2,972,196.99
3 Twisted Knees - $294,954.03
2 Frostbit Toes - $289,931.11
. . . and one Long-Term Brain Injury - $702,096.59
“The cost to an individual and their family is heartbreaking, but the cost to public health is bank-breaking,” said Esposito, who has cared for trauma patients at Loyola for more than two decades. The Chicago area, where Esposito is a trauma surgeon, continues to lead the country in gun violence. “Just last weekend someone went to a party, things got out of hand and they pulled out a gun and started shooting,” Esposito said. “I say don’t pack heat this winter. Bring a poinsettia, not a pistol to a party."
Loyola is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Illinois verified by the American College of Surgeons. A Level 1 Trauma Center is equipped to provide comprehensive emergency medical services to patients suffering traumatic injuries of any degree of severity - car and motorcycle crashes, stabbings, shootings, athletic injuries, falls - using multidisciplinary treatment and specialized resources, Esposito said.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.