Hahnemann workers say final goodbyes: ‘We were a family’

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With just two weeks to go until Hahnemann Hospital closes for good, Friday marked the final day for many workers.

As their last shift came to an end, hundreds of workers walked over to Westy’s on Callowhill Street for a “Last Hahnemann Hurrah” party that started in the afternoon and lasted well into the night.

“It’s old staff and new staff coming together to say goodbye one last time because we were a family,” Diane Wysocki explained, who has worked at Hahnemann for the last 28 years.

It was hard to grasp the mood at this event. On the one hand you saw the now former coworkers reminiscing and laughing over some drinks. 

But, for every smile there were tears as many hugged one another and said their emotional farewells.

“You get to know these people,” said Patti Lee, a medical assistant coordinator at Hahnemann for the last six years. “Over the years I’ve known a lot of these people. They’re like family. You know about their kids, you know about their grandkids, you know about weddings and graduations, birthdays.”

Lee, like many others, wore a dark blue shirt with yellow writing that read, “So Hard To Say Goodbye,” written around a broken heart.

“We never thought Hahnemann would ever close,” Lee added, as the reality started to set in. “I don’t think anyone ever thought Hahneman would ever close after all these years. You know, 180 years that’s a lot.”

Both Lee and Wysocki have their next jobs lined up already, but that wasn’t the case for others.

“A lot of (my coworkers) still don’t have jobs,” said Wysocki. “They’re in that age range where they can’t find anything because they’re 59, 60. People look at that, the ages, they don’t get hired.”

Former Hahnemann employees who left the hospital before the closure was announced also showed up to this goodbye party. Karen Gerner, who left in 2018, was one of them. She broke down in tears while speaking with KYW Newsradio.

“If you were at Hahnemann and left Hahnemann, you always came back to Hahnemann,” she said. “It was your heart, your heart and soul. I’m going to cry. It’s one of the most devastating events. I can’t even go in there and talk to people without crying.”

Other former hospital workers tell us they flew in from across the country, just to be at this event.

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