Navy Doctors use Chicago for Trauma Training

The Washington Post has a fascinating short expose into the training of Navy doctors who are using Chicago-area hospitals for trauma experience. Due to the high violent crime rate, Navy doctors and nurses are put into rotation and gain exposure to gunshots, knife wounds, and other serious injuries.

How do you prepare Navy doctors for a war zone? Send them to a Chicago trauma unit.

A new partnership with a Cook County hospital is allowing military medical personnel access to the trauma patients that it serves in Chicago, which is grappling with so much gun violence on its South and West sides…”

Sometimes called “Chi-Raq” by locals and people in the area, Chicago has a steady stream of violence that creates the training atmosphere. However, it is not the sole city used for trauma training.

Navy personnel also train in Los Angeles, where gang violence has left doctors treating a steady stream of stabbing and shooting victims. “It’s a shame that Los Angeles has so much violence,” surgeon John Newman told the Los Angeles Times in 2003, “but from a training standpoint — fantastic.”

The title photo is from Mizzou Magazine, which aslo has an interesting article on doctors learning treatment from warzones. 

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

    It is a pity that there are ideological differences between USA and Venezuela. They should be training in Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo.


  • Maurizio Fulignati

    It is an old story , even our italian navy SpecOps 18-Delta , under the PEP N.A.T.O. program , use to get their training in Chicago hospitals

  • BillC

    “Gun violence”, uh, how about just violence caused by gang bangers?

    • allannon

      Yea, well, the gangstas would be fighting with fluffy bunnies and pillows if guns were illegal, right?

      • big daddy

        Those fluffy bunnies are deadly!!!! Ever tried it? I use them to protect my home.

        • sianmink

          That’s no ordinary rabbit!

          • M.M.D.C.

            Run away, run away!!

        • Cymond

          mah babeh!

  • big daddy

    It’s actually sad that they can go anywhere in America and get that kind of training. One thing this country could pride itself on at one time was protecting it’s citizens.

    • Nandor

      Independent of a couple of hot spots that defy the national average, Americans are safer than they’ve ever been in the history of the country.

      • big daddy

        Having known a few NYPD LE I will say this; the way the FBI reports crime is inaccurate. This is due to the changes made by police departments on how crime is reported. Many times they change the actual crime due to little loop holes or outright lying to a lesser charge when it is reported. As I remember something was it the Atlanta police commissioner who got caught doing this? So I do not trust any statistics coming out of any government entity. I trust them as much as I trust corporations caring about my personal welfare. So that might be true, I do hope it is. But having grown up in New York City and living there 57 years I can say that crime has increased no matter what they say. Before I moved there was a shootout in front of the apartment building I lived in by drug dealers. There where gangs in a place that was NEVER there in the past. This was the suburbs of Staten Island.

    • Grindstone50k

      I had a First Shirt who was a USAF med tech. He was stationed at Wright-Patt and worked at hospitals around Dayton. Saw plenty of victims of violence there, too. Most any city of any size, regardless of politics, has gangs and violence. It’s just the nature of shoving a bunch of humans into a small area.

      • big daddy

        I’ve been in one of those hospitals on a weekend with a kidney stone waiting in the hallway until a room was ready. I never got a room, it was a 2 day wait. Talk about busy…… was just an over flow hospital that took patients from Brooklyn, New York. Drug overdoses, stabbings, shootings, beatings, DUI car accidents and everything else you can think of.

  • MarkT

    Just think, if every major American city has gun laws like Chi-raq has (until very recently) then these good doctors could have excellent trauma training with a steady stream of stabbing and shooting victims. It would be a shame but our docs would have valuable experience. I can hear the anti-gunners now…’do it for the troops or your un-American.’

  • JumpIf NotZero

    This isn’t just an old story, it’s an OLD training routine.

    I have a friend who is now a retired trauma surgeon. He spent the 90s in the Navy, while getting his medical training he spent a year in Chicago. He was active Navy working in a civilian hospital, in the 90s.

    So we’re talking about AT LEAST a 20 year old practice here.

  • Lloyd

    All the trauma patients in Chicago go to County. So the concentration of wounds is about health care as well as crime.

    We don’t call ourselves Chi-raq.

    Ps. The 7th circuit fixed a couple of our gun laws for those of you who seem to be a little out of date.

    • Mark N.

      I didn’t think it was called County anymore either. I remember it well, though. My father did his residency there, and we used to go to the Doctor’s cafeteria for Sunday lunch. The underground levels and tunnels were like catacombs.

  • Shayne

    I am amazed that Memphis, TN is not on the list. If you ever visit TN, avoid that city like the plague it is, completely controlled by Democrats, and it is a major drug hub for all the drugs going to the North East cities.

    • seans

      Not sure if it is still in the rotation or cities, but 18D canidates use to go to Memphis.

      • RickH

        Ooooooh, are we talking politics now? Oh goody!

        • MattInTheCouv

          you replied to the wrong guy…

    • MANG

      I suspected I might find some political scientists in this thread. At least nobody’s being overtly racist. *shrug*

    • Yea it’s a drug highway through there for certain.

    • Hopsaregood

      A vote for a Democrat on Nov 4 is a vote for more of the Obama insanity.

  • Lance

    All this GS wound training in the heart of Gun Control ville.

  • So, I see I’ve found one of those mysterious and valuable articles where we just ditch the whole “no politics” premise and just go wild. It’s nice to have these types of articles every once and a while. P.S:Chicago’s gun laws are bullshit.

    • Cymond

      Yeah, I’d say this article is only marginally about firearms, and only if you have a good imagination.

    • MattInTheCouv

      how is this article “wild”ly political?

      • Cymond

        The article itself is not wildly political, but the connection to firearms is tenuous. It’s an article about how Chicago has such high crime rates that the military uses it as a training ground for battlefield surgeons. This naturally leads to a discussion of gun violence and Chicago. And of course, a lot of those comments are going to be in regard to Chicago’s gun laws and the nature/causes of gun violence, both of which are deeply political topics.

        There aren’t very many non-political directions the conversation can go, because most of us can’t see any politically-neutral topics to discuss on this one.

        • MattInTheCouv

          “the article itself is no wildly political…”


    • iksnilol

      It isn’t really politics to say that people of a specific profession practive/train in a specific city. Just like knee surgeons from Ireland are some of the worlds best due to a lot of experience with kneecapping, that isn’t politics either.

      EDIT: That practice is old, at least twenty years.

  • Brian

    ARMY uses a hospital in downtown Miami for the same purpose

  • Blake

    Reminds me of a good joke I heard the other day:

    The Israeli Quarterback

    The coach had put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn’t find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

    Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in the West Bank . In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Israeli soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away. KABOOM! He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney. KA-BLOOEY! Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph. BULLS-EYE! “I’ve got to get this guy!” Coach said to himself. “He has the perfect arm!”

    So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl. The young man is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother. “Mom,” he says into the phone, “I just won the Super Bowl!” “I don’t want to talk to you,” the old woman says. “You are not my son!” “I don’t think you understand, Mother,” the young man pleads. “I’ve won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m here among thousands of my adoring fans.”

    “No! Let me tell you!” his mother retorts. “At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn’t get raped!”

    The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says…

    “I will never forgive you for making us move to Chicago!”

  • gunfreak

    But how are they treating gunshots when Chicago has all those gun laws…

  • MattInTheCouv

    so the first sentence of this article states “…a short expose’…”

    the word expose’ has negative connotations if not an outright negative definition when applied to a piece of journalism. this is informative, i suppose, but hardly what i would call an expose’… no corruption or wrongdoing… just med folks learning how to fix wounds commonly found in crappier urban areas as well as the battlefield

  • Jeffrey Scott Boyer

    Not news. The navy has since 2005 been sending medical personnel on rotations thru Jackson Trauma center here in Miami

  • guest

    So following this logic the NBC and WMD effects simulation training takes place in Detroit.

  • Diver6106

    Military doctors have been doing this for some time. Inner cities have a lot of gun shoot wounds and it is excellent training for combat. Better than the ‘ol SF medics goat lab.

  • Hopsaregood

    So Rahm is not running a lawless city? He is running a patriotic training facility?? Wow, who woulda thunk it?

  • buzzman1

    Army has used LA for years

  • Dark Rose

    I read an article several years ago (10+ I bet), that stated military medics were using New Orleans and Gary, Indiana for training as they could treat wounds there they’d “never normally see outside of a battlefield” I believe was the quote…