‘We Have Never Needed Them More’: Boston Celebrates Opening of New Rehabilitation Hospital

Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who was himself a patient at Spaulding this past fall, spoke at the opening gala on Saturday, April 20, 2013, about the staff’s compassion and endurance. “We’re so lucky to have Spaulding in our city,” he said.

At the grand opening of a new, state-of-the-art facility where clinicians will help people adapt to amputations and other traumatic injuries, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and others celebrated the strength of the city of Boston and the strength of the human spirit Saturday night.

Benefactors, hospital staff and city officials gathered Saturday night at a tent set up outside the new nine-story Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Since its founding in 1970, Spaulding has provided in- and out-patient services for people recovering from a range of issues, including spinal cord and brain injuries, strokes, amputations and burns.

Some of the hospital’s clinicians were waiting at the finish line when the two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday, and the staff will be there in their new facility when several of the people injured in the blasts begin the process of healing and adapting to their devastating injuries.

With construction of the new, 132-bed hospital, “Spaulding will carry on a proud tradition, which says that strength can be recovered, damage can be repaired and defeat is never an option,” Spaulding President David Storto said. “This new hospital will be a place of hope and of healing, of learning and innovation and of grace and compassion.”

He mentioned specifically the role of the hospital in light of recent events.

“To those who survived the marathon bombings with catastrophic injuries: Rest assured that Spaulding and our extremely talented and dedicated and compassionate staff will provide the best rehabilitation care available in the world, and rest assured that we will work with them and their families to achieve a quality of life that they likely cannot even imagine at this early juncture of their recovery. As President Obama said at the interfaith service a few days ago, many of them will walk again and will run again.”

The mayor, who was himself a patient at Spaulding this past fall, spoke at the gala about the staff’s compassion and endurance with patients.

“We’re so lucky to have Spaulding in our city,” he said.

Several speakers at the event mentioned the importance of celebrating the new hospital after such a difficult week in Boston.

“It’s wonderful to be able to gather together as a community after the tragic events of this week. What better setting than in this place where healing of body and soul are at the heart of our mission and where we can all find our strength together,” said Scott Schoen, chairman of the Spaulding Board of Trustees. “Like all of you here this evening I am saddened and angered by the violence that was brought to our city and to our doorsteps this past week. At the same time I am extraordinarily grateful that we are supported here by the best medical care community in the world. We have never needed them more.”

Gary Gottlieb, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare system, to which Spaulding belongs, said he couldn’t imagine a better place to celebrate the city’s strength than at Spaulding at this moment.

“This past week we found our strength around leadership, at the extraordinary leadership of the mayor, who kept us focused on this city and its ability to move forward and on the strength within us,” Gottlieb said. “… We find our strength in heroism, the heroism of the Boston Police, the FBI and other law enforcement, first responders and volunteers and the incredible civic spirit of our communities.”

The event featured music performed by the Boston Pops, including percussionist Pat Hollenbeck, who as a recovered stroke victim is considered a Spaulding success story. The orchestra kicked off the celebration with a powerful version of “America the Beautiful,” which received a standing ovation.

Spaulding staff will be relocating patients from its Nashua Street building to the new Navy Yard hospital next weekend. 

South End Patch