NARH checks issued, then a dash for the bank


This story has been updated to clarify that most of the checks issued to Northern Berkshire Healthcare workers Thursday were primarily for sick and vacation time payouts. Workers were told their final regular paychecks would be direct deposited into their accounts Wednesday, April 2.

NORTH ADAMS -- Their final sick and vacation time paychecks were issued at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

By 6 p.m., the lobby at TD Bank was packed with at least 60 former employees of North Adams Regional Hospital -- and a line of cars stretched from the drive-thru window onto Main Street.

"They said to cash them, just to be on the safe side," said Marcia Ethier, a North Adams resident who has worked in the hospital for 27 years.

Numerous employees expressed thanks to the bank for staying open past closing time of 6 p.m., saying it was a testament to how close-knit the Northern Berkshire community is.

Despite Thursday's court ruling that will keep the emergency room open, those in line still had doubts about the future of health services for Northern Berkshire.

Jennifer Dowling of Stamford, Vt., a registered nurse who has worked at the hospital for 30 years, said there were still uncertainties.

"There's a lot about the labs they need to have, the X-rays they have to have, the housekeepers that will clean the beds, the admission people that have to be there," she said. "It's not that one unit, we run as a whole. It's a start, but we're still unsure of how it will work."

Dowling and others said employees view the hospital as their home and their fellow staff as family.

"It's hard to think we're not going to get up in a couple days and do it again," she said. "It's all we know."


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