Yesterday, Prouty Garden supporters made a strong showing at the Department of Public Health hearing on Boston Children’s Hospital’s proposed expansion project. We filled the room with love for the Prouty Garden and stormed the podium with speaker after powerful speaker.
Our group included doctors and other healthcare providers, current and past patients and patient families, a landscape architect, a tree preservationist, members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, men, women and children of all ages—speaking directly to the hospital leadership about why the Prouty Garden must be preserved. It also included the beloved and world-renowned pediatrician and pioneer of child psychiatry, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, who remembered children begging to go out to the Prouty Garden so they could look up into the sky and "see God straight."
We raised questions about the hospital soliciting patients from outside of New England and overseas.
We raised questions about the site selection and why the previous plan to build on the site of the Enders Building was abandoned.
We raised questions about whether the hospital has violated Department regulations by beginning construction before receiving approval.
We raised questions about how the $1.6 billion project will impact healthcare costs for patients and why BCH didn’t properly address this in its application.
We rejected the idea that denying this proposal means denying care to patients. We rejected the idea that it’s garden vs. NICU, garden vs. treating sick kids.
We made painfully clear that bulldozing the Prouty means bulldozing at least one child’s final resting place.
We asked questions about what it means to heal, what it means to treat the whole patient.
We asked questions about the proposed rooftop garden and other “green spaces,” whether they qualify as true healing gardens.
Most importantly, we honored and celebrated the remarkable life of the Prouty Garden and the profound healing impact it has had on all who have experienced it—staff, patients, families—in its 60 years of existence. We came representing the nearly 14,000 people who have signed our petition and the 150+ BCH healthcare providers who have made clear that they support keeping the Prouty Garden.
And the hospital, well, they may not have listened. But they certainly heard us.
Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks, as we will be sharing video footage and excerpts from all the wonderful testimonies presented yesterday. You can read just one of them here.
But in the meantime, whether you were able to attend and testify or not, written comments on the hospital Determination of Need (DON) process will be accepted by the Dept. of Public Health up until 5:00 P.M. Monday, March 7, 2016. Department officials were very clear that ALL statements will be taken into consideration, so please know that YOUR VOICE MATTERS.
We are already making the legal case for why the Department should reject BCH's application, but you can tell them why you think the application should be rejected, why you think the Prouty Garden should remain, why you think the hospital should build elsewhere, or not at all, by writing a letter and sending it to:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Determination of Need Program
99 Chauncy Street
Boston, MA 02111
Please copy firstname.lastname@example.org on all correspondence.