* These pages constitute a repository of recent historical information and no longer concern an active suit.

Timeline and Event Photos
Avert Rolland Tragedy - Fighting Against De-institutionalization  of the residents of the Seven Hills Pediatric Center
Home | Our Mission | Informative Articles & Documents | Share Your Story | Our Stories | Informative Links

People Worth Protecting

Background & Overview

Sign Our Petition

Please go to The Petition Site and sign our petition and show the world you care.
the petition site


Home » Informative Articles & Documents » Making the wrong move

Informative Links About the Victims of the Rolland Lawsuit Facing Life Threatening De-institutionalization

Making the wrong move

Boston Globe 6/30/2008

by Kevin Cullen
Their baby, their Debbie, turned 24 so Ed and Margaret Braga had a little party yesterday at their house in Arlington. It was hot and there are 25 steps up to the front door.

Debbie Braga's 31-year-old brother David couldn't make it. He has all sorts of health problems and rarely leaves Seven Hills Pediatric Center in Groton, where he has lived since he was 11 years old.

"We had him home for Father's Day, and it was a good day," Ed Braga said. He was sitting at the kitchen table and Margaret sat next to him and she nodded and agreed it was a good day.

They don't know how many more good days their David will have. They just found out the state wants to move David and 30 other people out of Seven Hills to a smaller facility.

This is the result of a lawsuit that has nothing to do with the Bragas and other families who know only that their children have survived and thrived at Seven Hills, long after some experts said their kids would die in childhood.

Nobody from the state, nobody with a medical degree, has bothered to sit down with the Bragas or any of the other families and ask them if they thought moving the people out of Seven Hills is a good idea.

Last week, at the annual Seven Hills family picnic, Ed Braga pulled aside some doctors from Children's Hospital, the hospital that got Seven Hills up and running in the first place, and asked them whether they thought it was a good idea.

"They think the same thing we think," Braga said. "They think this is a really bad idea. They think this will really threaten David's health and the health of the others."

Margaret Braga remembers bringing David home for the first time, seven months after he was born, thinking she could love her little boy back to health. But the oxygen didn't reach his brain soon enough, so he was mentally retarded. He had cystic fibrosis. He was a quadriplegic. His digestive system was a mess. His respiratory system was a mess.

Margaret would lie awake at night, listening to her son gasp for air, unable to sleep because she thought she had just heard David take his last breath. As David got older and heavier, they would struggle, carrying him up those steep front stairs.

"I was like every mother with a seriously disabled child," Margaret said. "I thought just my being a good mother would heal him, but it didn't."

Seven Hills saved more than David's life. It saved his parents and his five siblings, all of whom had been devoted to caring for him and keeping him in the family home.

And now, just like that, someone who has never met the Bragas, never spoken to them, never sat at the kitchen table, listening to the stories, the love, the pain of putting David there in the first place, the doubt, the reluctant realization that it was the right thing to do, has all the power. Somebody who knows none of this, who has never seen the photograph of David in a tuxedo at his sister's wedding six years ago that sits on the bureau just inside the front door, this somebody says they know what's best for David Braga.

"Don't we have the right to say no?" Margaret asked. "Don't we have the right to say, 'If you move David and these other people out of Seven Hills you're going to hurt them, maybe kill them?' "

Debbie Braga scoffed.

"The state says they're going to move my brother into a community setting," she said. "He's already in a community. They don't know or care about that community."

Ed Braga looked out the window. The guests would be arriving soon and he had to get the food out and had to be a good host even as he harbored a bad feeling.

"They're gonna kill him," Ed Braga said, standing up. "If they push him out, they're gonna kill my son."

Online Boston Globe Version Can Be Viewed Here

Home | Our Mission | Informative Articles & Documents | Share Your Story | Our Stories | Informative Links

© 2008-2013 Seven Hills Pediatric Center Family Council
* These pages constitute a repository of recent historical information and no longer concern an active suit.