Nearly a month after a fire shuttered Brockton Hospital, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey is touring sites impacted by the incident, including the medical center where many patients have been diverted.
Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll were set to visit Good Samaritan Medical Center, which has had about twice the number of emergency room visits since the Feb. 7 fire shut down Brockton Hospital. They were also visiting a fire station, neighborhood health center and urgent care facility in Brockton Thursday.
About 160 patients were evacuated from Brockton Hospital as throngs of firefighters descended on it to fight the fire, which was reported about 9 a.m. after starting in a transformer room in the basement. Power to the hospital had to be shut down, officials said at the time, and the facility is expected to remain closed at least until mid-May.
In the meantime, most of the patient overflow has gone to Good Samaritan Medical Center nearby, which has also been receiving patients from the shuttered Norwood Hospital — all amid contract negotiations over staffing levels. Nurses have told NBC10 Boston that the emergency department "is overrun" with patients sitting in hallways, "not getting the basic care they need -- let alone the medical care that they need."
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With Healey in Brockton Thursday, Good Samaritan's parent company announced that it and the union had agreed to extend contract negotiations, with the company's president, Matthew Hesketh, saying in a statement that the organization was "happy with the positive momentum of the discussions."
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, which officials were visiting, has also seen a surge in cases, according to the city.
Brockton Hospital opened two urgent care centers that can handle up to 40% of what they would see in the emergency room, one of which Healey was visiting Thursday.
NBC10 Boston's Mary Markos and Marc Fortier contributed to this report.