Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed Laura’s Law on January 15, legislation that created the requirement of standards for emergency room access.
Laura’s Law was named after Emerson alumna Laura Levis ’04, who in 2016 died outside of an emergency room in Somerville, Massachusetts, after being unable to find the entrance to the hospital while suffering from an asthma attack.
All Laura needed was a simple, ER sign above a hospital door, but there was none in site. Laura’s Law will make every ER entrance as easy to find and get inside as possible. It’s amazing how often they aren’t. You probably have your own story ../more https://t.co/hLDBj5rx1W— Peter DeMarco (@peterdemarco) January 17, 2021
In a heartbreaking article for the Boston Globe, her husband, Peter DeMarco, wrote about Levis’s avoidable death. Levis walked herself to Somerville Hospital in the late morning when it was still dark. When the doors to the ER would not open, she called 911.
After being transferred by 911, Somerville Police contacted the hospital saying Levis was outside the building and needed help. A security video later showed that a hospital nurse walked a few feet out from the entrance, but didn’t see Levis, who was laying on a nearby bench in the dark, only 29 feet from that entrance.
Today I was honored to sign “Laura’s Law” to safeguard against tragedies occurring steps away from hospital emergency departments.— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) January 15, 2021
In the wake of her tragic passing, Laura’s husband Pete undertook an exhaustive effort to honor her legacy and protect others from similar fates. pic.twitter.com/rRLFQEm7kL
The law now requires the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to set standards for access to hospital emergency rooms, including appropriate lighting and signage to direct people to the ER, and security and monitoring of all ER entrances.