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A $1.5 billion expansion to Children's Hospital would pave over the beloved Prouty Garden with a new 11 story building. Sick children and their parents have sought solace  beneath the garden’s trees for 60 years.  

Thousands of former patients, parents, and doctors, have protested the hospital’s plans to eliminate the garden, citing it is a memorial site and critical addition to the healing process. Although the hospital will lose Prouty, the expansion will create a new rooftop, indoor, and outdoor garden. Proponents of the expansion say that the new building will provide new rooms, technology, spaces for surgery, amongst many other helpful additions.

Dr. Ram Emani, a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Children's Hospital and Dr. Michael Rich, the director of the Center on Media and Child health at Children's, joined Boston Public Radio Thursday to debate whether or not Prouty Garden should be destroyed.

“Prouty garden matters because It’s one of the important healing spaces at Children’s,” said Rich. “It is not seen as that necessarily on a balance sheet, but it is for many patients and their families…  we need to see it as an integral part of what we can offer.”

According to Rich, 14,000 people have signed a petition to keep the Garden. He believes that the hospital could expand while still being able to keep the garden. “We are being forced to make a false choice here. The choice is not between Prouty Garden and improved care. I work in outdated crowded circumstances too. I still think I am able to offer the best care I can,” said Rich.

Emani disagrees with Rich, stating that the expansion would create crucial space that the hospital needs. “There are not enough spaces at Boston Children’s Hospital. We are constantly canceling or delaying surgery, turning away patients who need critical care. In fact, impacting on the safety and recovery of patients.”

Emani has seen first hand the postive effects his patients have received from spending time in Prouty.  "My patients are probably the greatest beneficiaries of the Prouty Gardens. I’ve lost patients down there. This is a very difficult situation." Despite this, Emani still believes that losing the garden will be for the greater good.

If you have any comments or concerns about Prouty Gardens you can send them to The Department of Health at from now until Monday, March 7th