With just 16 hours to spare, a judge has ordered Franciscan Health Hammond’s emergency room to keep its doors open for another nine months. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report Lake Superior Court Judge Bruce Parent on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction to the city to prevent the hospital from closing its ER at the end of the month.
Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance announced plans in November to close the ER to ambulances effective today and would permanently close the emergency department on Dec. 31.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott requested a temporary restraining order this week to prevent the 124-year-old hospital from closing its emergency medical care at the end of this month.
They successfully argued that Franciscan Alliance unfairly broke its promise 18 months ago to provide 24/7 medical services while demolishing the rest of the then-227-bed facility.
“This is a classic case of (breach of promise). I think law students will be studying this case for years to come,” McDermott said.
McDermott said the city had asked the court to keep the emergency room open for 18 months, but McDermott said he already is going forward with plans to find another medical provider.
A Franciscan Health spokesperson told Inside INdiana Business, “Our legal counsel is reviewing the decision before we take any further action.”
The judge’s 11-page order mandates Franciscan to “take all steps necessary to ensure that the facility in downtown Hammond remains legally licensed and operational.”
The judge concludes his order with a warning that he is unlikely to extend this grace period beyond the next nine months.
Click here to access the coverage from The Times of Northwest Indiana.