BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Almost two weeks after a massive fire forced the shutdown of Brockton Hospital, the disruption has had ripple affects impacting healthcare around the area.
With news last week that the hospital will likely remain closed for at least three months, local first responders have noted concerns.
Foxborough Fire Chief Michael Kelleher told 7NEWS Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton had become one of his department’s primary emergency rooms for patients transported by ambulance.
“Now they’re telling us not to go there because of the volume,” he said. “It’s just too significant.”
“Unless we have a critical patient, they want us taking people other places,” he continued.
Foxborough has been forced to transport patients to hospitals in places including Providence and Boston. The result is a longer ride and a longer wait in crowded emergency rooms.
Kelleher said he’s left feeling nervous about incidents such as a bus accident or a busy concert at Gillette Stadium.
“If those hospitals are already at capacity, what alternatives do we have?” he said.
The Feb. 7 fire at Brockton Hospital started in a transformer room. It forced patient evacuations and knocked the healthcare facility out of commission.
Officials with Signature Healthcare announced on Thursday that Brockton Hospital would now likely not reopen until May. The closure, Kellher said, has had a “cascading effect across Southeastern Massachusetts.
Brockton Hospital’s closure comes as the latest in a string of closures dating since the 1990s.
Just a matter of years ago, in 2020, Norwood Hospital was severely flooded after a deluge of rain. The facility is now being demolished and rebuilt.
In Brockton, Good Samaritan officials said their emergency room admissions have doubled since the fire at Brockton Hospital. There are also staffing issues.
“The health of the people of the Brockton area is now on the line,” Good Samaritan officials said in a recent statement.
They continued, saying they have been working to eliminate any obstacles to bring on staff.
Despite the struggles, officials with Brewster Ambulance, which serves Good Samaritan, recently credited the hospital for handling the strain.
“God bless them for their folks, their physicians and their nurses keeping with it,” Brewster’s Chief Clinical Officer Chris DiBona said.
He said his team hasn’t seen extended wait times at the hospital, avoiding delays as they drop off patients and get back on the street.
Elsewhere, at the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, the facility’s CEO said her facility has seen an uptick in patients, some with serious heart issues.
“They’re choosing, I think, to come to us because they know that Good Samaritan’s ER is overrun and Brockton is closed,” Sue Joss said.
Signature Healthcare officials said their reopening timeline for Brockton Hospital “is contingent on supply chain and access to necessary materials.”
The organization plans to open two new urgent care centers to help with access to medical care in the Brockton area in the meantime.
The first will be at 110 Liberty Street in Brockton while the second will be at 650 Centre Street, also in Brockton. Both are slated to open within the next two weeks.
Officials have also said there will be expanded access and hours at Signature Medical Group ambulatory locations.
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