Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Home Health Hospital apologizes for 'horrible pain' of a man whose wife dies outside...

Hospital apologizes for 'horrible pain' of a man whose wife dies outside his locked ER doors

Two years after his wife died in a massacre. Massachusetts husband.

Patrick Wardell, Cambridge Health Alliance CEO, told Peter DeMarco during a two-hour meeting at The Boston Globe on Tuesday that he was 'very sorry' for what happened.

DeMarco's wife, Laura Levis, walked to CHA Somerville Hospital in the midst of a severe asthma attack, found ER left, then collapsed, on the phone with a 911 operator, just outside the second door.

In the New York Times, DeMarco then learned the circumstances of Levi's death and wrote a devastating account of the failures that led to her death in the Boston Globe Magazine.

Ten days after DeMarco published his heart-breaking account, he has accepted his apology, but what is left with unanswered questions.

Patrick Wardell, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance (left), met with Peter DeMarco (right) on Tuesday to apologize for his wife's death outside the company's hospitals (AP)

Patrick Wardell, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance (left), met with Peter DeMarco (right) on Tuesday to apologize for his wife's death outside the company's hospitals (AP)

Patrick Wardell, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance (left), met with Peter DeMarco (right) on Tuesday to apologize for his wife's death outside the company's hospitals (AP)

'I can understand the horrible pain that has inflicted upon you,' Wardell said in the Tuesday meeting.

DeMarco, a journalist, with several hospital officials, including Chief Medical Officer, Assaad Sayah, of Somerville Hospital.

Say Sayah at the meeting.

DeMarco's heart-wrenching first-person account of the death of his wife, Laura Levis, appeared in The Boston Globe magazine.

Levis, having an asthma attack, attended Somerville Hospital's emergency room early on Sept. 16, 2016.

She found the door locked. There were instructions posted on that door to use another entrance instead.

Perhaps because she panicked, she did not see or could not read those instructions, or she just did not make it in time. She sat down on a bench, called 911 and told her she was outside the hospital.

DeMarco and Levis were living separately when they died. He did not know that his wife had tried to call 911 and waited 10 minutes for help until after she had been taken off life support

DeMarco and Levis were living separately when they died. He did not know that his wife had tried to call 911 and waited 10 minutes for help until after she had been taken off life support

DeMarco and Levis were living separately when they died. He did not know that his wife had tried to call 911 and waited 10 minutes for help until after she had been taken off life support

Dispatchers for 911 calls ask callers where their emergencies are and use cell towers to try to get to locations. Levis tried the one entrance (A) but it was locked. She almost made it to the second (B), but collapsed on a bench (star). Pings to her cell phone (red) Proposed she was much further, at one of two corners of the hospital's grounds

Dispatchers for 911 calls ask callers where their emergencies are and use cell towers to try to get to locations. Levis tried the one entrance (A) but it was locked. She almost made it to the second (B), but collapsed on a bench (star). Pings to her cell phone (red) Proposed she was much further, at one of two corners of the hospital's grounds

Dispatchers for 911 calls ask callers where their emergencies are and use cell towers to try to get to locations. Levis tried the one entrance (A) but it was locked. She almost made it to the second (B), but collapsed on a bench (star). Pings to her cell phone (red) Proposed she was much further, at one of two corners of the hospital's grounds

The 911 operators and their geolocation technologies Laura, as did hospital staff.

At one point, a nurse poked her head out of a door, looked for Laura outside for 12 seconds, but did not see her in the predawn gloom.

Though DeMarco's moving account exposes a series of systematic failures on the parts of an institution, that fact that is missing the outline of Laura's body, so near to the door, has remained a sticking point for DeMarco.

Laura was eventually found unresponsive by a firefighter 29 feet from the main entrance. She died at another hospital days later.

DeMarco said that although he accepted Wardell's apology, he was not satisfied with all the hospital officials' answers.

Dr Assaad Sayah, chief medical officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, right, embraces Pete DeMarco Nov. 13, 2018 after a meeting where he and other executives answered questions on the death of DeMarco's wife, Laura Levis, in Boston (Boston Globe / AP)

Dr Assaad Sayah, chief medical officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, right, embraces Pete DeMarco Nov. 13, 2018 after a meeting where he and other executives answered questions on the death of DeMarco's wife, Laura Levis, in Boston (Boston Globe / AP)

Dr Assaad Sayah, chief medical officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, right, embraces Pete DeMarco Nov. 13, 2018 after a meeting where he and other executives answered questions on the death of DeMarco's wife, Laura Levis, in Boston (Boston Globe / AP)

Laura's death were so unnecessary. DeMarco said in an email to The Associated Press.

Somerville Hospital's leaders never left with the emergency room nurse who left Laura to the on a bench steps from the hospital's doors, he said.

DeMarco said he was pleased with Wardell's pledge to share the story of his wife's death with Somerville Hospital's mistakes.

DeMarco has no plans to sue the hospital, which is now unlocked.

Levi's case and made several changes, including improving lighting, signage, video surveillance, and training for employees, Dr Sayah said.

Wardell shook DeMarco's hand at the end of Tuesday's meeting. Dr Sayah and chief nursing officer Lynette Alberti both hugged DeMarco.

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