PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of protesters closed down a part of Broad Street on Thursday as they demonstrate in front of Hahnemann University Hospital. Staff members are demanding state and city officials step in to save the hospital.
Demonstrators say this is a life or death situation and they are afraid their patients will die as a result of this closure.
The protest, which started outside the hospital around 11:30 a.m., is made up of members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.
Patients are also out here to join in solidarity with the hospital staff.
Susan Bowes, a nurse at Hahnemann, says the atmosphere inside is very depressing and patients aren’t sure where they will go next once the hospital closes. She says they can find new jobs, but they’re concerned patients won’t be as fortunate when it comes to their health care.
“I’m a nurse and I’m going to find a job, I know that, but I just can’t stop fighting,” Bowes said. “It’s very sad. The nurses here, and you can ask any of our patients, they get great care, they love us, and they’re family and we’re all a family, and it hurts.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a joint statement that they “stand in solidarity with the workers, patients and community.”
“The situation at Hahnemann University Hospital, caused by CEO Joel Freedman and his team of venture capitalists, is an absolute disgrace and shows a greed-driven lack of care for the community. The hospital has $300 million in debt that is growing daily. Now the owners want a bankruptcy proceeding to protect the profits they extracted from the hospital and community. This mounting debt means a short-term solution is simply not viable,” they said.
There was supposed to be a federal court hearing at the bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, but that may have been delayed.