Friends, we regret to inform you that the Prouty Garden is officially closed. The sanctuary is no longer available to those who need it.
There is a guard posted at the entrance and the view into the garden is obscured with a rendition of what is to come. The door near the library is closed off and is now part of the construction zone. The tree is still standing but there is plywood staging on the main part of the garden and the nurse statue has been removed. There are white lines painted on the grass that can be viewed from the aerial shot.
We know how disheartening and disturbing this is to see and to read, let alone for the staff, patients and families in the hospital right now who are suddenly without this important healing space.
To update you on where our fight stands now, as you may recall, a hearing was held in Superior Court on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to rule on our Ten Taxpayer Group’s urgent request that a Preliminary Injunction be issued to prevent BCH from proceeding with construction on the site of the Prouty Garden while our group’s full complaint is under review by the court.
To our disappointment, Judge Salinger, the presiding judge, declined to grant our request because he was not satisfied that we had established a likelihood of success on the merits “at this time.” It’s important to note that the judge reached this decision without reviewing the complete Administrative Record that will be assembled before he makes his ultimate ruling on our complaint. Judge Salinger made clear several times that he was referring to the state of the evidence presented to him “at present.” He was not ruling out that he may be convinced otherwise as further evidence is presented to him.
The practical impact of the judge’s ruling, however, is that the Prouty Garden, at this point in time, is unprotected from whatever the hospital chooses to do with it. This freedom to act is limited only by whatever moral, ethical, medical, financial, and sensible business principles the hospital administration might take into account in considering its actions, in light of the “court of public opinion." We have seen nothing so far to suggest the hospital administration is particularly concerned about present and future patients and their families; benefactors who have chosen to support the hospital because of the Garden; competing hospitals which incorporate nature in their healing; hospital rating agencies and organizations; or insurers, governments, businesses and other payers who care about what they’re paying for hospital services.
To make matters worse, early indications suggest the hospital administration intends to proceed with destroying this well-loved healing garden during the holiday season. The pictures accompanying this update show the immediate actions just since the hearing that the hospital has taken to close the garden and establish this sacred space as a “construction staging site.” It would appear that “holiday spirit” will be in extremely short supply at Boston Children’s Hospital this holiday season. At this point, the full moral burden of action with respect to the Prouty Garden is resting on the shoulders of the BCH administration.
Our attorneys have pointed out to us that the judge's ruling on the request for a preliminary injunction will not necessarily impact the judge’s full consideration of our complaint. The ruling on our initial requested relief is decided, but our lawsuit continues and likely will be consolidated with our previous suit (filed to stop the initial construction work).
Our effort has always been a story of “David fighting Goliath." We stand with numerous experts, both inside and outside the hospital who have condemned the hospital’s planned course of action. We remain optimistic that we can prevail in this effort “on the merits."
With the Prouty Garden under imminent threat right now, we are doing all we can to expedite the cases in court. Beyond the legal dimensions of this fight, however, we continue to look for ways to keep public pressure on the hospital to change course. During this holiday season, when the sacred significance of the Prouty Garden is palpable, we ask for your continued financial support, political actions, recruitment efforts, and personal involvement in this effort. The heartfelt comments that many of you have posted over the past two years inspire us all and give us strength.
During this season of giving, we suggest that a very good cause indeed is the saving of the Prouty Garden. We hope you will find it in your hearts (and wallets) to contribute now to the funds we are trying to raise to support immediate action during the month of December as we attempt to give the hospital reason to slow or abandon its current course of action while court action is still pending. Donations can still be received via our GoFundMe page or mailed via check (details available on GoFundMe page).
With our best wishes during this holiday season and deepest gratitude for the support you have provided throughout this effort – we ask only that you keep the faith!