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Tufts Medical Center to stop treating pediatric cancer patients on July 1

Tufts Medical Center President Michael Tarnoff announced today that, with the imminent closing of the hospital's in-patient services for children, it will stop intensive treatment of young cancer patients July 1, because many of the patients require overnight stays that the hospital will no longer have for them.

Instead, the hospital will work to move patients who need active cancer treatment to Boston Children's Hospital - with which Tufts has an agreement to transfer its inpatient pediatric patients as of that date. In e-mail to the hospital community, he wrote:

We are working with our patients and their families in active treatment to ensure a smooth transition in their care. For patients no longer in active treatment, we are evaluating how best to provide optimal long-term care but for now we continue to provide follow-up oncology care in our outpatient clinic.

Tarnoff added that the hospital today filed formal paperwork with state regulators "detailing the proposed closure of pediatric intensive care and medical/surgical beds at Tufts Children’s Hospital."

Meanwhile, Tufts pediatric nurses will hold a vigil at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in front of the Washington Street teddy bear to protest of the closing.

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Comments

Hi Adam,

You might wanna change the headline to “patients” (plural) so it doesn’t sound like they’re stopping treatment on one particular kid.

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Voting closed 40

the real story is that there's just one kid they really don't like. But yes, it totally reads like they are cutting one kid off from cancer treatment.

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Voting closed 11

Fixed. Yes, it should be plural.

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Tufts' pediatric unit has forever earned a pass from me, as they have one of the most amazing neonatal ICUs I've ever heard of. Luckily, it looks like the NICU is staying open, even as the rest of the pediatric unit is converting to adult beds.

In case anyone wants to read about why Tufts' NICU is incredible, read on. Possible trigger warnings for extremely unwell newborn, but I promise it gets better.

About five years back, I worked with a guy who was expecting his first kid. About a month before the due date, his wife was rushed to the hospital and was delivered pre-term. It was really, really bad. His son was born with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. Basically the valve controlling bloodflow to and from his mother while in utero failed, and he was born with 30% of the blood volume you're supposed to have. The EEG came back showing huge anomalies--little dude wasn't quite at the threshold of brain-death, but coworker and his wife were told in no uncertain terms that he would never live off a ventilator, and it was pretty unlikely he'd ever open his eyes. The Tufts neonatal unit persisted with treatment, though, and the trauma team worked on him for nearly a week, before three more weeks in the NICU trying to control the seizures and prop up his organ function.

Fast forward to three years ago, when the little dude made an appearance at a house party we threw. At age 2, he was neurotypical--little guy walked up our treacherous back staircase by himself and was talking up a storm in a language no one knows. He was a big fan of our cat. His entire trauma team came to his first birthday party, because none of them would believe it without seeing it. His entire brain basically regenerated and rewired itself after he was on the verge of brain death. It's the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen. Guy basically won the Powerball a couple of times in the first two weeks of his life. More to the point, the Tufts neonatal team are goddamn superheroes.

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… and give them extra attention are pretty amazing too.

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… and give them extra attention are pretty amazing too.

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