'We are tired of seeing this happen': Next Door Pediatrics Clinic permanently closes

NOW: ’We are tired of seeing this happen’: Next Door Pediatrics Clinic permanently closes

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A neighborhood children's health center, Next Door Pediatrics Clinic, officially closed its doors on the city's north side on Friday, Dec.8.

Now, a community is fighting to keep healthcare in the Metcalfe neighborhood.

"We are tired of seeing this happen in our community, a community that needs it the most," said Deanna Branch, a mother who supports the clinic staying open.

Advocates of Next Door Pediatric Clinic rallied outside the medical facility and chanted to ask Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to reverse their decision on closing their northside health care unit.

Branch, a mother of three, said Next Door Pediatrics is an essential for her family, she credits the clinic for keeping her kids healthy.

"My youngest daughter is lead free, and that’s because of the awesome work of Dr. Lisa Choutery and Next Door Pediatrics," said Branch.

The health center opened its doors in 2011.

It services mostly Black and brown patients in the Metcalfe neighborhood.

Healthcare professionals said the area has the highest rates of lead poisoning throughout Milwaukee County.

"We are losing healthcare for children, babies and children in the month of December, this is the absolute worst holiday tradition in existence in Milwaukee," said Jamie Lucas, Executive Director, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Advocates for the clinic said they were told the reason behind the closure was for lack of space and not enough doctors.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin sent CBS 58 this statement:

"We care deeply about the kids and families we serve and have been listening to their concerns about this change. We hear and understand the needs related to transportation, and services like lead testing and care in the community. To help alleviate those issues and ensure kids can continue to receive the care they need, we are actively working with families to transfer them to our other Children’s Wisconsin Primary Care locations, including Midtown Pediatrics, Good Hope Pediatrics, Forest Home Pediatrics or River Glen Pediatrics. We also will continue to help families with transportation to their new clinic of choice. We remain committed to all our patients and families and look forward to continuing to provide them with exceptional care."

For mothers like Branch, she said her fight is just beginning.

"We will not stand aside any longer and continue to let them close down clinics in the community that mean a lot to us and the children," said Branch.

The clinic's doors closed permanently at 5:00p.m. on Friday, Dec.8. 

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