What Is Left Now

Opponents of $1 Billion Expansion at Boston Children’s Hospital Blast Hospital Administrators for Felling Iconic Tree

Hospital is “selling its soul” by destroying nationally-renowned outdoor healing space

BOSTON – December 5, 2016 – The Friends of the Prouty Garden today condemned actions by the administration of Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), which on Saturday, December 3, cut down a 60-year-old Dawn Redwood tree in the hospital’s Prouty Garden, beginning in earnest the destruction of the nationally-recognized healing garden to make way for the most expensive hospital expansion project in Massachusetts history.

In issuing a statement today, Gus Murby, spokesman for the Friends and lead plaintiff in two Ten Taxpayer Group lawsuits challenging the hospital project, noted that the group will continue to pursue the hospital in court, contending that, among other issues, the state process that allowed the BCH project to move forward was deeply flawed. The lawsuits are pending in Suffolk Superior Court, with additional filings expected as soon as this week.  

Statement of The Friends of the Prouty Garden:

“With the felling of the Dawn Redwood and the sacrifice of the Prouty Garden, Boston Children’s Hospital has completed the process of selling its soul.

Amid the confusion sewn by the hospital administration’s multiple misrepresentations throughout this process, the complex medical issues that are the constrained focus of the state’s review of the hospital’s proposed project, and the interference of state and city leaders who inserted themselves into the process to steer its outcome, the core truth and breach of integrity that has occurred is crystalized on a simple plaque that has stood in the garden for decades. The plaque unequivocally states that “this Garden will exist as long as Children’s Hospital has patients, families and staff to enjoy it.”

In eradicating the Prouty Garden, the hospital has broken its promise to past, present and future patients, families and staff. In doing this, the hospital administration has also betrayed the core values of the medical profession – values that make this profession a sacred one. These core values recognize that healing involves more than providing patients with medical treatments, however advanced those treatments may be. Healing is not something that comes from bigger buildings and newer medical equipment. Healing, particularly for those facing the most difficult afflictions, comes from the compassion and care offered by hospital staff who time and again display the unfathomable emotional courage to open themselves up to their patients in a manner that goes far beyond the clinical limits of their areas of expertise. Healing is found in the ability of patients, their families, and the hospital staff itself to connect with core truths about existence that transcend even the darkest fears and uncertainties they face. 

For the past 60 years Boston Children’s Hospital has embraced that commitment and courage as a foundational element of its identity. The Prouty Garden and, in particular, the Dawn Redwood has stood as physical testimony to the hospital’s commitment to those core values, and to those who come to Boston Children’s Hospital with the greatest need for healing that goes beyond the clinical delivery of medical care.

What has been lost here is far more than a garden.”