BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Parents, patients, and staff rallied outside of Tufts Children's Hospital on Saturday to protest the closure of its 41 pediatric inpatient beds, and the hospital's shift in prioritizing vacancies for "much-needed" adult ICU and surgical procedures.
Wellforce, Tufts' parent company, made the announcement on January 20 that the change would allow for the hospital to increase its capacity to care for critically ill adults at the Tufts Medical Center campus. According to a statement from TMC, Wellforce approached Boston Children's Hospital about a collaboration, which ended with the organizations signing a letter of intent to work together and "ensure seamless continuity of care for Tufts pediatric patients served by Wellforce." TMC said that the collaboration was set to begin on July 1, 2022.
But some parents were not satisfied with the decision, and said they are concerned that treatment would not be the same.
Michael, a father whose daughter receives crucial treatment at Tufts said, "the illness that she has is pretty rare, and the only facility and doctors that will treat her happen to be here at Tufts."
"We provide services that other facilities don't- we take MassHealth, no insurance, we take everybody," said one member of Tufts staff at the rally.
At the time of posting, more than 60,000 people have signed an online petition to keep the pediatric hospital's doors open for children.
TMC said they will continue their neonatal intensive care services and pediatric primary care services.
According to Tufts' statement, the closure translates to 1,800 to 2,000 discharges per year that would be transitioned to BCH, expanding adult bed capacity by an estimated 20%.
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports.