E.J. Noble Nurses Show Support With Vigil

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Nurses at E.J. Noble Hospital held a vigil Thursday afternoon to show their support while state health officials say they are using "due diligence" in working out a plan for the hospital to reopen.

With a small battery-operated candle in her hand, registered nurse Patricia Mackiewicz of Edwards stood silently, hoping the hospital where she has worked for the last 15 years is able to reopen soon.

"The Department of Health needs to say 'okay, we can open' and come in and observe us - whatever they need to do to make sure we're doing things as we should," Mackiewicz said.
 
The nurses - most of them off the job since the health department suspended the hospital's operation two weeks ago over lab violations - gathered in front of the hospital.

Instead of protesting contract negotiations, they were carrying candles and hand-lettered signs to send a message that the hospital needs to reopen for the community, its workers and its patients.

"I know we do save lives," registered nurse Ellen Meilleur said.

"I work in the ER and, you know, I'm dedicated to this place."

Gouverneur's mayor joined the nurses and called for the hospital to reopen as soon as possible.

"I'm cautiously optimistic it's going to be a reopening and a full reopening," Mayor Ron McDougall said.

A health department spokesman told 7 News that progress is being made to reopen the lab and the hospital.

In his words, "we're working as quickly as possible, but not at the expense of patient health or safety."
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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