Sixty-one regional trauma centers closed from 1988 to 1991 as costs rose and networks developed, according to the University of Chicago position paper. Only eight states provide any significant trauma center financial support. Bills have failed in the Illinois state House in the past to increase these funds.
And Chicago has more than twice the recommended one to two Level I or II trauma centers per million people. Another study it cites suggests that a delay in transportation from the South Side to a trauma center "has no impact" (PDF).
The "lethality rate," though, has gone up on the South Side, according to sociologist Anthony Harris. His groundbreaking 2002 study "Murder and Medicine" (PDF) may have been the first to identify the direct connection between the impact that medical technology and related medical support services have had in suppressing the homicide rate.
"The centers unequivocally make a difference," Harris said. Mocking up the numbers since Michael Reese Hospital closed, he says the lethality rate has gone up 25% for every 100 assaults. "The lethality rate is extremely sensitive to relatively small factors. When you have trauma centers closing all over the place, it is going to have an impact."
Community organizer Morris-Moore says she and her group will continue to protest and try to draw attention to the need for a South Side center. They've been at it for two years already. However, she says she never gets discouraged at the slow progress.
"As a community organizer, my only real weapon is hope," Mooris-Moore said.
As for Williams, who has lost so many including her young cousin, she is working with children with behavioral problems to teach them to understand consequences of violence before it is too late.
"I tell them we recently celebrated my cousin's 16th birthday at one of her favorite restaurants, Chuck E. Cheese, and we had to do it without her," she said. "It's just not right."