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Governor Patrick Signs Legislation to Require Schools to Develop Efficient Medical Emergency Response Plans

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA

Governor Deval Patrick today joined legislators and family members to sign Senate Bill 2132, "An Act Relative to Medical Emergency Response Plans for Schools." Local school districts will now be required to develop efficient written medical response plans to be better prepared to respond to life-threatening emergencies.

The legislation, also known as "Michael's Law" was filed in response to a tragic incident involving Sutton High School sophomore Michael Ellsessar, who died after suffering cardiac arrest while playing high school football in 2010. Michael was 16.

"I am proud that we are honoring Michael Ellsessar's legacy and implementing important steps to stop tragedies like this from happening again," said Governor Patrick.

"This new law will provide local school districts with the tools and resources to respond effectively and efficiently in the event of medical emergencies which will help prevent future tragedies like the loss of Michael Ellsessar," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

Schools will now be required to implement the following steps in addition to the required multihazard evacuation plan: (1) a method for establishing a rapid communication system and protocols, (2) a list of relevant contacts, (3) a method to efficiently direct emergency medical services, (4) safety precautions for injury prevention, (5) a method of providing access to CPR and first aid training, and (6) the location of defibrillators and personnel who are trained in their use.

"Life-threatening emergencies can happen in any school at any time," said Senator Mark Montigny. "A medical crisis can strike students, staff or visitors and occur during class, after school or at athletic events. This bill encourages every school to develop a program which provides the tools to react to any acute medical incident. Such a program will have the potential to save the greatest number of lives. We must ensure the safety of all the members of the public, young and old alike that utilize our public schools and this legislation will accomplish that goal."

Local districts will be required to submit their plans to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) every three years and DESE will be required to develop and biennially update a model medical emergency response plan to assist school districts in the formulation of their plans. Schools are required to conduct plan simulations at least annually and to evaluate and modify their plans as necessary. DESE will be required to submit a report to the legislature on the implementation of this initiative by July 1, 2013.

"This bill will save young lives in the future, and it's a fitting memorial tribute to a great young man, Mike Ellsessar of Sutton" said Senator Richard Moore.

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