Widower Helps Pass Law That Would've Saved Late Wife's Life Years Ago
By Amanda Thomason
Published January 18, 2021 at 11:53am
In 2016, 34-year-old Laura Levis from Massachusetts was experiencing a serious asthma attack. Shed made her way to a hospital, but once she arrived, she had a hard time finding the emergency room.
She couldnt get in. The door she found was locked. She died, alone and on the phone with 911, steps away from the entrance. A senseless tragedy.
According to her husband, Peter DeMarco, the hospital initially claimed shed died in the parking lot or on a nearby street on her way to them, but as the details settled, he learned shed been right next to the correct entrance only adding insult to injury.
Though hed lost his wife, DeMarco was determined that no one else would lose their loved one for the same reason. He channeled his energy into a bill that would require clear signage for emergency rooms in Massachusetts, People reported.
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Of all the mistakes that contributed to Lauras death, perhaps most glaring was how the hospital lacked a simple, emergency-room sign above any door, DeMarco wrote for WBUR-FM.
Confused by this, Laura tried the wrong door, which was locked. Her attack overcame her before she could make it to the right door.
The ask was sensible but as beneficial as it seemed, there was no guarantee the bill would even get voted on.
Lauras Law would make every emergency-room entrance in Massachusetts easy to find and get inside by establishing first-ever standards for signage, lighting and the security monitoring of doors, DeMarco explained.
It was a straight-forward piece of legislation that was bound to save someones life, but unfortunately, that wasnt enough.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that the bill wasnt seen as terribly high- profile and various other factors, the bill had only a 50 percent chance of even getting to a vote.
I wrote Losing Laura two years ago for the Boston Globe so that no one else would ever die as my wife did, DeMarco said. There wasnt a chance I would give up.
So DeMarco reached out to family, friends and acquaintances in every circle he passed through to ask for their voices. And they responded.
Hundreds of people called and wrote in, and the bill garnered enough support to make it on the state House floor where it was passed unanimously.
It was the victory Id fought so hard for, but, of course, it was bittersweet, he said. Laura is gone. After some tears, I just felt relieved that the journey was over.
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When you walk into the main entrance of the hospital where I live, there is a big red sign painted above the hallway up ahead that says, EMERGENCY, with arrows pointing that direction on both sides.