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October 26, 2003 - Etched in My Mind Forever

Danielle's Law Signed: Hope that a Life Lost can Danielle's Law Signed: Hope That a Life Lost Can Save Others

By Jeff Rossen

(Carteret-WABC, October 26, 2003) — A new law signed on Sunday is going into effect in six months in New Jersey. It will ensure that residents in group homes receive prompt medical care. Known as Danielle's Law, it's named for a woman who died after not getting necessary medical attention.

Danielle Gruskowski, 32, died because of a mistake. Her death may save the lives of others.

Danielle was in a group home for the developmentally challenged in Edison, New Jersey. But, last year, Danielle got a high fever, 105. Here's the mistake. Her caretakers never called 911, and Danielle died.

Diane Gruskowski, Danielle's Mother: "It's been terrible to know that your daughter would probably still be alive today if someone had called 911 earlier."

Call it a legal loophole. But until now health care workers didn't have to call 911 even in a life-threatening emergency. They could try to take care of it themselves. They failed Danielle, and on Sunday the loophole closed.

New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey signed Danielle's Law. Now, all homes and all health care workers must call 911 if there's a life-threatening problem.

Governor Jim McGreevey, New Jersey: "Darn't that worker should do what any parent would do when their child is in extreme danger...you call 911. It's common sense."

The state will train health care workers. Teach them when to call 911. If staff members don't do it, the home could lose its license.

All this change comes too late for Danielle, but perhaps just in time for everyone else.

Robin Turner www.thefamilyalliance.net

by Robin on August 17 at 1:52 AM EST


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