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Hospital Expansion Threatens Beloved Patient Garden

   May 18, 2016

"For many, this garden is the spiritual refreshment that sustains us through another day of hospitalization, the weeks away from home or a long 12-hour shift. Bulldozing the garden also violates our promise to Mrs. Prouty and the intent of her generous gift," the petition states.

"We do not have to choose between hospital expansion and the garden. Let's pursue other architectural options and save the Prouty Garden's beauty, healing, and heritage. It is priceless."

Additionally, a blog, created by "an extended group of concerned volunteers who are connected to the Boston Children's Hospital family in one way or another," advocates for preservation of the garden.

Looking Forward

The fate of the Prouty Garden remains uncertain. Children's Department of Public Health approval is pending, and the hospital said it will not permanently close the garden until the approval process is complete.

As part of the process, public health officials have asked the hospital to submit an independent cost analysis of the proposed expansion, and demonstrate that its plans are in-line with the state's efforts to contain healthcare costs.

Garden supporters have honed in on that detail, recently publishing a report alleging that Children's—one of the most expensive hospitals in Massachusetts—is retreating from caring for the poor.

According to the report, which the Friends of the Prouty Garden submitted to the Department of Public Health, the expansion "would further restrict access to quality pediatric services for Massachusetts Medicaid patients and indigent children, while expanding services to wealthy, private-paying international patients, according to a new report analyzing BCH's efforts to create a massive new complex in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston."

Children's proposal to improve the patient experience by building over a beloved patient space has put the hospital in a tough spot. Moving to a rooftop garden will do little' to quell the negative publicity.

Marianne Aiello is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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