2013 News

Morton Hospital RNs help convince DPH to support keeping pediatric unit open


From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
July/August 2013 Edition

  State Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), speaking against the proposal to close the pediatic unit at Morton Hospital.

Nurses at Morton Hospital helped convince the state to issue a finding against closing a Level II 13-bed pediatric unit, which Steward Health Care sought to close.

RNs, joined by parents, former patients and elected officials, testified at a May hearing about the harmful effects of closing the unit that has served the area’s children for more than 50 years.

The state Department of Public Health ruled in June that the unit provides an “essential service” and cited a number of serious issues about the planned closing.

Staffed by a team of expert caregivers, including RNs and LPNs who together have more than 200 years of experience, the unit cares for children who suffer from a variety of acute medical conditions, undergoing tests or undergoing and recovering from surgical procedures.

“We greatly appreciate DPH’s findings that this is an essential service, and that the loss of this service will deprive children throughout the region the care they deserve,” said Joyce Wilkins, RN, chair of the MNA/NNU local bargaining unit at Steward Morton Hospital. “Our hope now is that the unit remains open to continue to provide excellent care for children and that state officials do whatever is necessary to ensure that this service remains open for these vulnerable children.”

The DPH called into question the census data provided by Morton Hospital management to justify the closing and demanded that Steward provide detailed records of every patient cared for in the unit for the last three years, while also calling upon Steward to provide a detailed plan as to how they will address the concerns of the community and maintain access to services for these children, which will then be reviewed by DPH.