The Atlantic’s In Focus blog is doing a great photo series on America in the early 1970s. Last week they took a look at documentary photographer John H. White, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism in 1982. Here’s a quick look at the series, and you can see the whole thing over at The Atlantic.
Last night, my co-worker’s son, Ray, was shot 2 blocks from his house near 79th & Yates at 6:50 PM. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago which is 11 miles away and was pronounced dead at 7:27 PM.
The University of Chicago Medical Center is only 4 miles away from where he was shot, but the ambulance couldn’t take him there because the U of Chicago is no longer a Level I trauma center. Chicago area has only 4 Level I trauma centers none of them are in the city’s south side.
So ambulances that pick up a gunshot victim on the south side have only a couple of trauma centers to choose from and none of them are easy to get to. 71% of the time, when someone is shot at the intersection Ray was standing on - it takes over 20 minutes to reach a trauma center. 13% of the time, it takes over 30 minutes.
I took a map of racial demographics in Chicago where blue dots represent blacks, orange dots represent hispanics and pink dots represent whites. And I overlaid median ambulance run times which I got from a WBEZ story with data obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Essentially, if you live in a black or hispanic neighborhood and need urgent medical care, your ambulance ride can take two or sometimes three times longer than if you live in a white neighborhood.