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Laura’s Law Named After Late Emerson Alumna

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed Laura’s Law on January 15, legislation that created the requirement of standards for emergency room access.

Headshot of woman on grassy hill
Laura Levis ’04 (Photo from twitter.com/peterdemarco/header_photo)

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.

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.

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.

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