EJ Noble Nurses Rally at Gouverneur Oktoberfest

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Pumpkins, live music, and crafts. Those are the usual things at the Gouverneur Oktoberfest.

But this year's festival had a new addition that seemed to draw a crowd: Registered nurses from E.J. Noble Hospital were on hand, looking to garner support from the community.

"If it was me out there, I'd want family to take care of me. And I think that's what we are, we are family," said Carole Lamson, a Registered Nurse waiting for the hospital to reopen.

"The community needs us and we need them," added another Registered Nurse, Ellen Meilleur.

That need is especially great right now.

Most of the hospital remains shutdown while the state Health Department reviews the hospital's plan to correct 19 deficiencies.

It will also be up to the state to decide whether Canton-Potsdam Hospital or Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown will manage the hospital's troubled lab.

And when it comes to who should manage the lab at EJ Noble Hospital, nurses we spoke to say they would prefer Samaritan Medical Center:

"They're a large facility and maybe would have more people available to help us," Meilleur said.

"They have greater resources, greater financial accessibility. So, that would be the nurses first choice," Lamson said.

Who ever the state picks, the nurses say they'll be just glad to go back to work.

"My husband is retired so he doesn't cover health insurance on me. So health insurance is an issue with me for my coverage" Meilleur explained.

"Pray everyday that we can make the repairs that are necessary," Lamson added.

New York State Nurses representative Kim Honeywell says it's more than just fixing repairs.

She says the hospital has bigger issues to fix.

"There is a question of the leadership here, starting at the top and going down. This should have never happened in the first place," Honeywell said.

But for now, the nurses of EJ Noble will continue to look for support from the community while the state decides when, or if, the hospital can reopen.
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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