By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker signed ‘Laura’s Law’ on Friday. The legislation requires the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to create regulations to improve hospital signs, lighting, and surveillance.

The bill’s namesake, Laura Levis, walked to the Somerville Hospital on Sept. 16, 2016, when she started experiencing an asthma attack and died on a bench outside a locked emergency room door.

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Peter DeMarco, Laura’s husband, was present. “I have many mixed emotions today,” he said. “It took nearly two years to get here. I wasn’t sure we’d even reach this day, but in the end, Laura’s Law passed unanimously. In the end, everyone saw how good and pure a bill this is. How essential is it. And how extremely important it was to honor the life of a young beautiful woman who died so tragically and so unnecessarily. Laura could have been any one of us. And now because of Laura’s Law, every one of us will be helped.”

DeMarco said he hopes other states will begin to implement similar laws.

Gov. Baker said the pandemic has prevented many signing ceremonies, but for Laura’s Law, they wanted to make an exception. “I can’t tell you how happy we are that this particular legislation found its way on to our desk and we had an opportunity to sign it and to implement it,” he said.

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Laura Levis (Courtesy photo)

DeMarco told WBZ-TV his wife was “funny, and smart and so beautiful.” She was an active and adventurous 34-year-old.

“There’s no way she ever thought asthma could end her life… I wish I was with her. So much. I wasn’t,” he said.

He’s made it his mission to share her story, to educate other patients and their families, and advocate for Laura’s Law.

“That no one else dies the way she did,” DeMarco said. “It’s just so important.”

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The law requires the department to implement regulations on emergency room signs, lighting, doorbells or panic buttons, and video surveillance monitoring of any visible hospital entrances that lock at night. In addition, the department would be required to assemble a working group to recommend how to best implement the signs, lighting and other improvements to hospital buildings. Staff