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Hospital Expansion Threatens Beloved Patient Garden

   May 18, 2016

Boston Children's Hospital is bursting at capacity, but plans to build an 11-story expansion over Prouty Garden have prompted a lawsuit from area residents and patients' advocates.

Gardens have been a mainstay at hospitals, even before research backed up widely held views that being in nature had a calming and healing effect on patients.

Lately, hospitals across the country have poured more resources into their gardens, with some planting vegetable crops that are incorporated into patient meals.

At one hospital in Massachusetts, however, this spring might be the last for its garden,' and the community is outraged.

Uprooting a Beloved Patient Space

Patients, families, and staff have enjoyed Boston Children's Hospital's Prouty Garden since it was established on the Longfellow Campus in 1956. Since then, the 404-bed hospital has grown to the point where expansion is necessary—and leadership decided that planting a building on top of the garden is the most cost-effective solution.

VIEW GALLERY: Prouty Garden

We have reached the limits," Sandra L. Fenwick, Children's CEO, said during a Department of Public Health hearing in February. "Our partners, our patients, and the families and staff lie at the very heart of the plans we brought to you today. To increase our capacity to heal, we must modernize."

Marianne Aiello is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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