Hospital apologizes for death of woman at locked ER’s door

An update, now, on Monday’s post about Peter DeMarco’s incredible essay in the Boston Globe Magazine over the weekend, in which he revealed that his wife, who died from an asthma attack, perished because the door to a hospital’s emergency room was locked.

DeMarco had earlier written an open letter to nurses that went viral. He didn’t know the actual details of his wife’s death at the time.

Four days after the Boston Globe ran DeMarco’s story, the hospital has apologized.

Coincidence? No chance.

“Our families have been waiting over two years to hear them accept even an ounce of responsibility for Laura’s death,” DeMarco tells the paper. “Two years is a long time.”

But he says he accepts the hospital’s statement as sincere.

“It is impossible to read Mr. DeMarco’s story about his wife, Laura Levis, without being concerned about the issues he raises. His heartfelt and comprehensive overview sheds light on many areas where Cambridge Health Alliance and the emergency medical response infrastructure made mistakes and must improve.

“[The hospital] did not meet our own high standards for transparency and accountability with Mr. DeMarco and Ms. Levis’ family. It should not have taken an event like this for us to identify and resolve a number of structural, training and communication issues. We have already begun to make the necessary changes.”

“We could have done better, and we will do better. There are no words to effectively express our sorrow over the loss of Ms. Levis. More importantly, for the role we played in compounding her family’s grief, we are deeply sorry.”

“If they are truly sincere about trying to apologize to our families, a more meaningful step would be to meet me face-to-face at the Globe offices as I’ve repeatedly suggested to them, so they can answer every question I have about how Laura, or anyone for that matter, could have been left to die 29 feet from their front door,” DeMarco says.

He said he wants to know every step the hospital has taken and also wants it shared with every other hospital in the country.

DeMarco’s story made its way to network TV news on Wednesday evening.