‘No Rules Any More’: Chicago Violence Hits Hard at Suburban Hospital

When the doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Chicago hear that yet another shooting victim is on the way to the emergency room, they don’t wait to find out their name.

The hospital — which sees its caseload rise and fall with the tide of crime on the city’s bullet-riddled South Side — assigns each trauma patient an alias in alphabetical order.

Once an Alan Doe, Barbara Doe or Charles Doe is registered in the system, the staff can start ordering the tests and units of blood that may be needed to save their life.

“On a good night,” Dr. James Doherty said with a touch of gallows humor, “you could maybe get through the whole alphabet.”

The staff at Advocate Christ knows all too well that Chicago’s headline-grabbing plague of violence — which appears to be on the downswing after hitting 500 homicides last year — is no laughing matter.

Last year, the well-regarded facility treated nearly 1,100 shooting and stabbing victims.  The number of patients who are dead on arrival has quadrupled in three years. The number of trauma surgeons has jumped from three to seven in a decade – and they’re looking to add an eighth.