IDPH downgrades Advocate Sherman Hospital's trauma center designation amid anesthesiologist shortage

Two days after a top surgeon at Advocate Sherman Hospital sounded the alarm about an ongoing shortage of anesthesiologists, the Elgin hospital has lost its designation as a Level II trauma center.

The hospital has been without its full complement of anesthesiologists since severing ties with its former provider during a contract dispute at the end of August. The hospital has been on bypass, meaning it has had to send emergency room patients to other hospitals, multiple times this month.

The Illinois Department of Public Health notified the hospital Friday that it downgraded its trauma center designation in EMS Region 9.

Ten of the 13 hospitals in Region 9 carry the Level II designation, including nearby Presence St. Joseph. The designation means a hospital is able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients and can provide 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.

Level I is the highest designation, with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge being the only Level I hospital in Region 9.

"We were disappointed to learn today that IDPH reclassified our Level II Trauma Center designation," said a statement from Sherman late Friday. "We are working with IDPH to regain our status as we continue to provide safe, high quality care for our patients and community."

News of the designation change comes on the heels of Dr. Tom Stanley raising concerns during Wednesday's Elgin City Council meeting.

Stanley said the hospital has done 90% fewer surgeries in September because of the shortage of anesthesiologists and said it could be nine to 12 months before Sherman is back to previous staffing levels.

"This capacity crisis is going to continue for a long time," Stanley, Sherman's vice chair of surgery, said. "The hospital is broken."

Sherman Hospital offered a different view. "After months of unsuccessful contract negotiation led to the cancellation of our previous anesthesia provider contract- we are pleased to have a new, top quality provider group and be well on our way to full services."

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