Penn dedicates police emergency drop-off lane for gunshot victims

A sign is posted outside Penn Presbyterian Medical Center Level 1 Trauma Center at 38th & Powelton on Sunday. A Penn trauma surgeon tweeted “Only in America” about the gunshot wound drop-off lane.

A Philadelphia hospital has designated a zone outside its emergency room doors for city police to quickly deliver gunshot victims to the ER.

“Like Philadelphia’s other Level 1 trauma centers, patients are sometimes transported to our hospital by police, who play an important role as first responders to critically injured patients,” a Penn Medicine spokesperson said of the sign at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in University City.

“There are multiple entrances to the emergency department at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and this signage ensures that patients are brought to the ambulance bay where our trauma team is best equipped to quickly care for them.”

 

So far this year, Philadelphia has seen more than 500 shootings – up 8 percent from the same period in 2017.

The city is one of the few where police take stabbing and shooting victims to hospitals in a practice dubbed “scoop and run,” which has been credited with lowering Philadelphia’s homicide rate. According to a 2014 study, when city police transported shooting victims, the survival rate was slightly better than when the gravely wounded had to wait for an ambulance.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department declined to comment on Penn Presbyterian’s drop-off lane, saying that the program is too new to adequately assess.

In a tweet displaying photos of the newest drop-off lane at the Penn Presbyterian, Mark Seamon, a trauma surgeon and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote “Only in America.”

Commenters on Seamon’s tweet are taking the gunshot wound drop-off lane as a sign of the times.

“How very sad that this is even necessary,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Put it right next to the quick drop-off spot for the opiate overdoses ,” wrote another.

East of Penn Presbyterian, Hahnemann University Hospital also sees its fair share of gunshot wound victims, said spokesperson Phil Ellingsworth Jr. Although the hospital does not have a specified lane for police to drop off gunshot victims, it is a Level 1 trauma center equipped to handle police scoop-and-runs.

“From the moment the victim arrives [in the emergency ambulance bay], our trauma team is trained to jump into action,” Ellingsworth said. “Timing is everything with trauma cases.”

Related: After Amtrak chaos, new limits coming on police ‘scoop and run’