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North Adams deal reached

"Thirty-eight years, you don't expect to leave in that manner after 38 years," said Mary Marlowe, a registered nurse who used to work at North Adams Regional Medical Center.

Marlowe was one of many who lost her job when North Adams Regional Hospital closed. We met her as she pulled back into town from Springfield. She and other nurses and support staff were outside bankruptcy court when a deal was reached Thursday that could open an emergency room in North Adams again.

"People were happy. People were excited. The hope has been raised," said Marlowe.

Berkshire Medical Center said it reached an agreement Thursday on a proposed purchase of the North Adams Regional Hospital. A bankruptcy court has to approve the purchase and a bidding process is required, so the process will take time. In the meantime, Berkshire Medical Center said it has also come to an agreement that will allow it to provide emergency services in the North Adams Regional Hospital building. That agreement needs to be approved by a judge as well, but if all goes as planned, Berkshire Medical Center says it expects to open the satellite emergency facility the week of May 19th.

"The sooner the better," said Trisha Carlson, who lives in North Adams.

Carlson said she would feel a lot better if her emergency room wasn't in another town.

"It's a long drive and it's a long ambulance drive," she said.

"It's going to restore emergency services which is extremely important," said John Meaney, general manger of North Adams Ambulance Service.

Meaney said that his crews have been working hard to bring people to nearby emergency rooms. The extra distance has cost more in fuel and man power. He said he's happy to hear this news.

"There's a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Marlowe told us she would love to work again. Even more than that she and others we spoke with hope this news leads to more.

"Obviously we want a full service hospital and I think this is a beginning step," she said.
 
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