34-Year-Old Woman Dies On Sidewalk Outside Locked ER

Hospital leaders apologize, admit errors cost Laura Levis her life

| The Boston Globe – The leaders of Somerville Hospital’s parent organization met face-to-face Tuesday with the husband of a woman who died after collapsing outside their locked emergency room door in 2016, admitting to “multiple failures” during the emotional sitdown and apologizing for their role in the death.

“I’m very sorry for what happened to your wife,” chief executive Patrick Wardell told Peter DeMarco, the widower of 34-year-old Laura Levis, who died after suffering a fatal asthma attack outside Somerville Hospital.

“I can understand the horrible pain that this has inflicted upon you. I take personal responsibility for this,” he added.

DeMarco replied softly: “It’s good to finally hear these words from you.”

It was a remarkable scene: a husband shattered by his wife’s premature death posing painful questions that have lingered for years, and executives repeatedly admitting that they failed.

Help was a few feet away. Why didn’t they save Laura Levis?

Throughout the somber meeting, DeMarco kept a framed photo of his wife beside him — a selfie from their last Thanksgiving together. He wore his wedding ring and a necktie in his wife’s favorite color, purple.

Wardell and three other officials from Cambridge Health Alliance, the parent of Somerville Hospital, answered DeMarco’s questions for two hours in the meeting at the Globe’s downtown Boston offices.

DeMarco, in a Globe Magazine story, detailed the many emergency response and health care system failures that led to his wife’s death.

He described how Levis walked alone to Somerville Hospital early one morning in September 2016 when she felt her asthma attack coming on.

When she found the door locked, she called 911 and told the operator she was outside the hospital emergency room and couldn’t get in. Levis said she was dying. Read more. 

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