BOSTON — Nurses at Tufts Medical Center still can’t believe the children’s hospital is closing in a few months.
Dozens of them mobilized on Tuesday to support pediatric nurses who will lose their jobs.
“It’s extremely emotional, we were all very surprised by the news, the rug was pretty much ripped from underneath, no one saw it coming,” said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, a nurse at Tufts Medical Center.
Havlicek Cornacchia says that since the announcement nurses have started finding new jobs, leaving them short-staffed.
“I see access issues all the time, every shift I work on basically getting pediatric patients to find beds and it’s going to be sad to think about what happens when we’re not even an option for them,” said Tyra Dukes, a pediatrician nurse at Tufts Medical Center.
She says she worries about her patients once their 41 pediatric beds are gone.
“I think you’re going to have kids waiting in emergency departments [emergency departments] much longer than they should be, I think you’re going to have kids who won’t be able to see their specialist for months because everyone is going to be booked and backed up,” Dukes said.
That’s what worries Samantha Saperstein.
His son Mason, who just turned two, relies on 12 specialists at Tufts.
“Petrified by the longer wait times, when my son needs to be seen, it’s an emergency, his airway is the biggest concern with Treacher Collins syndrome,” Saperstein said. “We don’t have time to wait to be seen, we have to breathe.”
She says they still don’t know where Mason will find his care once Tufts closes its pediatric division.
“We are losing nurses who have been with him since he was a month old,” Saperstein said.
A spokesperson for Tufts Medical Center said most pediatric nurses have not yet left their jobs and plan to continue working until the July 1 shutdown.
“We get calls daily from the children’s hospital looking to place some of their patients because they don’t have room either, so closing 41 beds at once like this just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. the smart thing to do,” said Havlicek Cornacchia.
A spokesperson for Tufts Medical Center released the following statement on Tuesday:
“Every day, we are honored to witness the exceptional commitment, professionalism and passion that nurses at Tufts Children’s Hospital show to our pediatric patients and their families. Today’s decision to honor the history of this great institution and the many children Tufts Children’s has served over the years is a decision we both understand and respect. Although we intend to retain the neonatal ICU and pediatric outpatient departments, closing our other inpatient units and active treatment oncology departments at Tufts Children’s Hospital was an extremely difficult, and we share the heartfelt emotions of our nurses and team members throughout the Medical Centre.”
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