Efforts of Emergency Teams at Two Advocate Hospitals Prove Critical in Saving the Life of a Chicago Police Officer

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Two Advocate hospitals partner to save life of Chicago police officer shot in the chest. The officer lost as much as three quarters of his blood before surgeons were able to repair the artery damaged by the bullet.

These...lifesaving activities go on in our hospitals every day.

A Chicago police officer, who lost nearly three-quarters of his blood from a bullet that ripped into the left side of his chest, is alive today, thanks to the efforts of emergency teams at two hospitals within the Advocate Health Care system.

Before being discharged this week from Advocate Christ Medical Center, the officer, Del Pearson, expressed gratitude to both the emergency team at Advocate Trinity Hospital on Chicago’s South Side where he was initially taken following the shooting and to the trauma team at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., where he underwent five-and-a-half hours of emergency surgery on March 19.

“I want to thank Trinity for doing their best in preparing me and helping me make it to Christ Medical Center for trauma care, and I thank both surgeons who operated on me for what they did in saving my life. Everyone in the police department knows what an outstanding trauma center Christ Medical Center has; I was in good hands,” Pearson said.

The bullet that entered Officer Pearson’s chest above his chest protector damaged an artery just underneath his collarbone, causing extensive bleeding. Fellow officers first rushed him to nearby Trinity Hospital, 2320 E. 93rd St., Chicago, where he was given initial emergency treatment and prepared for immediate transport to the trauma center at Christ Medical Center, 4440 W. 95th St, Oak Lawn. Christ Medical Center provides Level I trauma services to residents of the south, southeast and southwest sides of Chicago and to the south and southwest suburbs and is one of four Level I trauma centers in the Advocate system.

“Officer Pearson arrived at Trinity Hospital in critical condition with a very low blood pressure after losing most of his body’s blood supply at the scene,” said Brandon Watson, MD, the Trinity Emergency Department physician who provided care to Pearson. “The ED team acted quickly to stabilize the officer by placing him on a ventilator, inserting a chest tube and rapidly infusing blood and fluids via central line. With the assistance of a CPD (Chicago Police Department) escort he was quickly transported to Christ’s Trauma Center.”

At Christ Medical Center, surgeons, J. Kayle Lee MD and David McElmeel DO, went into action, removing a piece of the officer’s collarbone to repair the artery. They worked with an operating room team that included an anesthesiologist, two surgery resident physicians and several nurses.

Officer Pearson spent five days in intensive care – two of those on a ventilator – before being moved to a general hospital floor. He was discharged from the hospital a little more than a week after sustaining the bullet wound.

“This case exemplifies how Advocate hospitals in partnership within the Advocate Health Care system provide patients in our communities with all levels of needed care, especially in times of emergency,” said James Doherty MD, chief of trauma at Christ Medical Center. “Having a hospital nearby of the quality of Trinity, equipped to provide immediate care, was a critical first step in helping save this police officer’s life.”

While the police officer’s case attracted extensive news media attention, “these kinds of lifesaving activities go on in our hospitals almost every day,” Dr. Doherty added. “As a Level I trauma center for the entire southern and southwestern metropolitan region, we are fully committed to serving the community.”

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