MedStar Franklin Square meets resistance over closing pediatric ER

on May 9, 2018
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A Baltimore County hospital's decision to close its pediatrics emergency room is meeting some resistance.

Just outside MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center came a cry from the community and former doctors who are dismayed over the hospital's decision to close its pediatrics emergency room and merge it with the adult emergency department.

About 60 people took over the corner of Franklin Square Drive and Rossville Boulevard just under the hospital's sign to share their message that they want the hospital to reopen the pediatric emergency room.

"They want their services back. They want safe, high-quality services back the way that they were," said Dr. Anna Reed, who worked in the emergency room.

The demonstrators were joined by Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who said, as a result of the closure, his office lost a key medical component in the investigation of child abuse cases.

"It's not just about helping us investigate child abuse cases, but it's also offering treatment to the victims of physical and sexual child abuse. That's very important, and it's a necessary thing in this community. It's going to be greatly missed," Shellenberger said.

In April, the hospital announced it was shutting down the pediatric emergency room because of a decrease in patients. The hospital issued a statement that reads, in part: "(The hospital) remains committed to serving pediatric patients throughout the community. In a model similar to many other hospital emergency departments around the country, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center now has a single Emergency Department that treats both adults and children."

But parents who demonstrated Tuesday want the hospital to reconsider.

"This hospital has failed our community, not just Rosedale, Middle River, Essex, parts of Dundalk, Harford County, Overlea and Baltimore City. This is a huge community and our children's lives and health should not be sacrificed for the profit of the administration of this hospital or corporation," said Colleen Rhine, a parent.

"This hospital needs to think about the community before profits," said Diana Simmons, of Rosedale.

"There are some things that you do in a hospital that isn't always about the bottom line. It's about giving back to the community, it's about contributing, it's about not only helping us investigate child abuse cases, but also offering treatment to those children who have been abused both physically and sexually," Shellenberger said.

Shellenberger said no child abuse cases have been impacted by the hospital's decision. His office must find an alternative that will help with the investigations and provide expert witnesses.



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