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SOMERVILLE, MA — The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Thursday that would require hospitals to ensure safe, easy access to emergency rooms 24 hours a day. The legislation is known as "Laura's Law" after Laura Levis, who died outside Somerville Hospital in 2016.
Details of Levis's death emerged in a 2018 Boston Globe Magazine story written by her husband, Peter DeMarco. Levis brought herself to the hospital in the midst of a severe asthma attack, found the door locked and called 911. She was found near the entrance to the ER about 10 minutes after placing the call and died seven days later.
The legislation would require hospitals to ensure safe patient access at all times to an emergency room or department. This could include improving indoor and outdoor signs and lighting, monitoring all emergency department access points, installing panic buttons, emergency doorbells or active video-intercom systems and other safety measures.
Following Levis's death, Somerville Hospital improved access to the emergency room, communication between emergency services and hospital staff and education regarding defined responsibilities of those…
Four years after Laura Levis suffered a fatal asthma attack, unable to find a Cambridge emergency room, the Massachusetts Senate passed a law that would require well-lit signage, panic buttons and other tools to make sure ER entrances are easy to access 24 hours a day.
Sen. Pat Jehlen, a sponsor of the bill, shared the story Levis' husband, Peter DeMarco, has told repeatedly before lawmakers before the Senate took its vote. Levis, a former Boston Globe reporter who worked for Harvard Magazine, walked toward the Cambridge Health Alliance Cambridge location when she started feeling her asthma getting worse. She tried to enter the hospital through a door she thought was the emergency room, but it was locked.
By the time anyone spotted Levis outside, her condition had worsened. She went into cardiac arrest and died days later at age 34.
That time stuck outside, unable to get medical assistance, prevented her from getting life-saving treatment, DeMarco told the Joint Committee on Public Health in 2019, three years after the incident.
“He asks us to join his effort to honor Laura’s memory by making sure this tragedy doesn’t happen again,” the Somerville Democrat said.
The bill is simple yet crucial…
The California Health and Human Services agency provided guidelines for fans if they want to attend San Francisco 49ers’ home games at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the county of Santa Clara shut down that plan. According to the state’s tiered reopening plan, the county is in the “moderate” range of COVID-19 spread.
The 49ers would only be allowed to have 20 percent capacity, or about 13,000 fans. If Santa Clara County reaches the "minimal" designation of COVID-19 cases, then the stadium could increase to 25 percent capacity.
However, on Tuesday, Santa Clara County Executive Dr. Jeff Smith disagreed with the idea.
“It makes no sense whatsoever to have audiences at stadiums, particularly when there is a model to do it without audiences in a much safer way so that the only individuals who'd be put at risk are players, the refs, and their families [who are] getting constant tests," Smith said. "Putting an audience in a stadium in large groups is just asking for trouble. It's like a Petri dish."