Fernald - PhMuseum

Fernald

M. Scott Brauer

2013

The Fernald Developmental Center, once home to thousands of mentally disabled men, women, and children, now houses 13 residents. It is the oldest institution for the disabled in the United States and has been under threat of closure since the early 2000s, as politicians have worked to cut costs in state budgets. The 186-acre campus of Fernald is largely in disrepair, but the 13 remaining residents have guaranteed level of care rights granted in 1993 as a part of a lawsuit relating to illegal human radiation testing. Their guardians don’t want the residents moved to private facilities, saying that it would cause undue hardship in the remaining years of these people's lives. The youngest resident is 46, and the oldest is 84.

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  • Fernald Developmental Center resident Ronnie Russo waits to get in the pool at the Fernald Center Aquatics pool in the Green Building at Fernald in Waltham, Mass., USA. The twins Ronnie and Randy Russo go to the pool twice a week and, with help from Mike Hebert, walk around the pool with light water weights as a way to get exercise and maintain limb strength.

  • Caregiver Jean Claude Michel (right) walks with resident Michael Martin in the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Michael cannot speak and has a range of cognitive impairments.

  • Kelly Kacinski plays with her sister Teresa Kacinski, 46, (right) in Teresa's bedroom in one of the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Teresa is confined to a wheelchair, cannot speak, and needs to have her hands restrained when she is awake to avoid personal injury . Teresa is the youngest resident at the center.

  • Diane Booher (left) walks with her older brother Ronnie Russo, 60, outside the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Ronnie and his twin Randy, both blind and unable to speak, have lived at the Fernald Center for 55 years.



    Story: Fernald, a look at the lives of the 13 remaining residents at the Fernald Developmental Center

  • Pictures of Jack Walsh, 62, (left) at the 1993 Spring Ball at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Walsh is a longtime resident of Fernald.

  • With the assistance of caretakers, Fernald resident Marilyn Davidson folds papers and stuffs envelopes for pay during work time at Site 7 at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Mass., USA. Davidson is 70 and can speak, walk, and complete small tasks.

  • George Eugene Rouse, Jr., 68, naps after lunch in the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Rouse was born without problems but contracted spinal meningitis and was institutionalized in 1951. Rouse frequently lays with a towel around his neck surrounded by stuffed animals.

  • Caregiver Jean Castor pushes resident Margaret Rouleau, 84, down a hallway in her residence at Malone Park at the Fernald Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Margaret is one of the few residents who can speak, though she suffers from a range of cognitive disabilities.

  • Philip DeRosa, 58, is a resident in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. He is unable to speak and suffers from a range of cognitive impairments.

  • Caregiver Paul Marie Obas (left) helps Randy Russo, 60, eat, while twin brother Ronnie looks on, in the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Ronnie and his twin Randy, both blind, unable to speak, and suffering from other cognitive disabilities, have lived at the Fernald Center for 55 years.

  • Michael Martin plays with balls after lunch in the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Michael, 52, cannot speak and suffers from a range of cognitive disabilities.

  • Decorations commemorate the 60th birthdays of twins Ronnie and Randy Russo in their bedroom at the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Ronnie and his twin Randy, 60, both blind, unable to speak, and suffering from other cognitive impairments, have lived at the Fernald Center for 55 years.

  • A view of the bedroom of Caroline Tucker, 62, at the residences in Malone Park at the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.


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