The community has come together following the June 28, 2020, flood that closed Norwood Hospital to seek an urgent re-opening of the hospital
NORWOOD, Mass. – The Coalition to Rebuild Norwood Hospital – a group of community advocates, faith leaders, nurses and healthcare professionals, union members and local officials – is holding a rally on Sunday, June 27 as part of the coalition’s call for all entities public and private to swiftly re-build and re-open Norwood Hospital as a full-service hospital as quickly as possible.
Flooding from a storm caused massive damage at Norwood Hospital on June 28, 2020. No patients or staff were injured but the hospital was closed. Owner Steward Health Care announced on June 22 its intentions to rebuild the hospital at its current location, with additional details to follow.
Rebuild Norwood Hospital Rally Details
Date: Sunday, June 27, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Triangular park area down the street from the hospital bordered by Washington St., Central St. and Guild St.
Details: Attendees will follow all applicable public health standards. Speakers will include Norwood Firefighters Local 1631 President Paul Ronco, Norwood Hospital MNA Co-Chairs and RNs Joan Ballantyne and Kathy Reardon, Norwood Board of Selectmen Member Matthew Lane, Rev. Michele Bagby Allan, Pastor, First Congregational Church in Norwood
“As a nurse I am concerned about the ability of patients to access local, high-quality care and as a community member I am concerned with the future of healthcare in the greater Norwood Area,” said Joan Ballantyne, a registered nurse, and Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association Bargaining Unit at Norwood Hospital. “Our community suffered a terrible loss resulting from the flood that closed Norwood Hospital nearly a year ago. We have come together to urge that Norwood Hospital be rebuilt without delay and re-open with all prior services.”
“This has been an unprecedented and incredibly difficult year for the families and businesses of Norwood,” said Matthew Lane, member of the coalition and the Norwood Board of Selectmen. “In the midst of a global pandemic, in which all families were already struggling to remain healthy, a sudden and unexpected flood severely damaged hundreds of homes and businesses, including Norwood Hospital. The subsequent closure of this community institution could not have come at a worse time. Not only were many left without access to their healthcare professionals, our first responders had to reroute all emergency medical calls to other hospitals outside of the region. In a matter of days, hundreds of essential hospital jobs that supported local families and our community were eliminated or transferred.
“The hospital has been shuttered for a year now, and while signs erected around the hospital property would lead one to believe that a reopening is just around the corner, actions speak louder than the promises written on those signs,” Lane said. “We respectfully ask Steward to provide transparent information on when the hospital will be rebuilt and what services will be provided upon reopening. Our community needs a full-service hospital rebuilt and re-opened as quickly as possible.”
“Norwood and neighboring communities have keenly felt the absence of Norwood Hospital since the June 2020 flood,” said Rev. Michele Bagby Allan, member of the coalition and Pastor, First Congregational Church in Norwood. “The impact to the lives of the employees who have relied on the hospital for their livelihoods and on citizens who have counted on the hospital for excellent local emergency care and ongoing compassionate medical care is immeasurable. We are eager to encourage and support Steward Health Care in the rebuild Norwood Hospital. As a community, we have counted on them as good stewards of our health and well-being and hope and trust that the rebuild will happen without delay.”
The coalition’s website is www.rebuildnorwoodhospital.com and it is on Facebook at “The Coalition to Rebuild Norwood Hospital.”
Norwood Hospital remaining closed has put a burden on emergency responders and patients who require emergency transports, Norwood Firefighters Local 1631 President Paul Ronco told Boston 25 News. The extra miles emergency responders have to travel not only puts a strain on Norwood paramedics and EMTS, but nearby towns like Walpole and Westwood, Ronco said.
“The problem with all these delays in turnaround times, we are relying heavily on our neighboring towns to come in and fill-in with their ambulances. Just last week, I think we had seven out of town ambulances in on the same day,” Ronco told Boston 25.
“In my opinion, I don’t think this is sustainable the way we’re running right now.” Ronco said.