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E.J. Noble nurses hold vigil

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: E.J. Noble nurses hold vigil
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The nurses of E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur came together Thursday to hold a vigil to hope for a speedy end to the closure of the hospital. Our Barry Wygel talked with nurses and other staff members at the vigil about what the closure has meant for the community.

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. -- If there has been one positive with the closure of E.J. Noble Hospital, it's the sense of togetherness that has come over the staff.

Seventy people are out of work, about 40 of them nurses. Those nurses gathered in the hospital parking lot Thursday to hold a vigil, hoping they will be able to return to work soon.

"The community needs this hospital. I've been an employee here for 36 years. I love my job and I want to be able to have the opportunity to help take care of the people in this community," said Deborah Bates, a nurse at E.J. Noble Hospital.

Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall joined the nurses and showed them support and said the parties involved are working hard to make sure the hospital opens soon.

"I understand there's been meetings, phone calls, conference calls. I think it's been well publicized. There was a meeting yesterday in Albany,” said McDougall.

As the closure of the hospital stretches into its third week in Gouverneur, community members say it's not only affecting this community, but communities all around the region.

"It's not just Gouverneur. We have people coming from Edwards, Russell, Antwerp. We need the hospital," said Carol Lamson, a nurse at E.J. Noble.

The state released a statement late Wednesday that pointed toward good news. In the statement, the Department of Health said they "...received a Plan of Correction (POC) from E.J. Noble Hospital to address the serious deficiencies identified... The Plan is currently under review by the Department."

The state also said they are working with Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown to see what assistance they can offer E.J. Noble. As soon as the corrective plan is approved, the hospital can reopen.

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