The Trauma, Burn & Rehabilitation Unit at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County is one of the largest trauma and burn surgery departments in the nation.

More than 400 patients were admitted last year with thermal, chemical and electrical burns, soft tissue wounds and complex diseases. 
Located on the first floor of the hospital near the Emergency Department, the trauma area includes 15 trauma resuscitation bays, 12 trauma intensive care beds and a 10-bed trauma observation area where we can monitor those patients who require frequent assessment during the first 24 hours post injury. The burn unit has a six-bed intensive care unit and up to 12 convalescent beds. 

Trauma & Trauma Surgery

Our trauma team provides a continuum of care for all seriously injured trauma patients from the moment they arrive at the hospital, through surgery, post-surgery and rehabilitation care.  
Patients are cared for by the same team of physicians and nurses from their arrival in the resuscitation area throughout their hospital stay. 
We see all patients with serious injuries, including (but not limited to):
  • Abrasions
  • Amputations 
  • Bone fractures
  • Burns
  • Contusions
  • Gunshot or stab wounds 
  • Lacerations
  • Serious bleeding or hemorrhages
Patients with serious or life-threatening injuries are brought directly to the Trauma resuscitation area. Most X-rays are done in our unit except CT scanning and angiography. 


Burns are the result of exposure to the sun, chemicals, radiation or electrical energy and can cause minor or major damage to the skin.
The intensity of the burn can determine the difference between at-home treatment or seeking emergency medical care.  Untreated burns can lead to more serious infections or conditions, such as sepsis, hypothermia, difficulty breathing or scarring.  

Types of Burns

There are three types of burns.
Burns can be immediate or may take a day or two to develop, so seek immediate medical attention if you believe your burn is serious or continues to worsen.   
  • first-degree burn is a burn to the outermost layer of skin. First degree burns typically cause redness, dryness or pain, such as a sunburn, and are relatively minor.  
  • Second-degree burns affect the second layer of skin. Skin can be red and swollen or white and splotchy, blisters are also common with second-degree burns and scarring could occur. 
  • Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn and require emergency medical attention. A third-degree burn destroys the outer two layers of skins and reaches the fat layer of tissue. These burns can also affect muscles, bones and other elements of the body. Skin could be black, charred or white and might feel numb due to destroyed nerve endings. 

You Should See a Doctor, If You Experience:

  • Blisters that do not heal within two weeks  
  • Burns covering a large portion of the body 
  • Burns on the face, hands, feet, groin or genital area  
  • Burns that cause leathery skin  
  • Burns that are black, brown or white  
  • Chemical burns  
  • Difficulty breathing or blocked airways  
  • Electrical burns  
  • Scarring 
  • Suspected abuse  
  • Wounds that appear to be infected 
If you have a minor burn and would like to make an appointment, call Cook County Health at (312) 864-0200.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

Burn Surgery

The Burn Unit has a six-bed intensive care unit and up to 12 convalescent beds.
We treat patients with thermal, chemical and electrical burns, as well as diseases such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, and all types of complicated soft tissue wounds. 


A physiatrist, or rehabilitation physician, is a medical doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).
This physician can be an expert in nerves, muscles, bones and brains who diagnoses and treats injuries or illnesses that affect how you function and move. The physiatrist looks at the whole person and not just one symptom or condition. 

The Rehabilitation Medicine department evaluates a patient’s rehabilitation needs during a hospital admission course. A physiatrist may assess patients and co-ordinate treatments alongside physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists. Trauma patients may need further therapies to transition back to home in a safe, functional manner.
The department also provides outpatient services through the Musculoskeletal Clinic, the Orthotics Clinic and the Amputee Clinic. Here, patients are provided with non-operative, conservative orthopedic and neurological care through a variety of means:
  • Peripheral joint injections
  • Exercise prescription for physical therapy
  • Prosthetic prescription for amputees
  • Orthotic and wheelchair prescription
  • Osteopathic manual medicine
  • Kinesio Taping
  • Botulinum toxin injections
  • Nerve conduction studies/electromyography
  • Acupuncture