Legislation Named After Dream Shepherd, 14-Year-Old Battling Sickle Cell Disease
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (A.212/S.474) requiring that proper discharge plans be in place prior to discharge for patients with conditions requiring central venous lines to ensure continued access to safe and appropriate care after those patients leave the hospital. Dream's Law is named after Dream Shepherd, a 14-year-old girl courageously battling Sickle Cell Disease who was denied a skilled private duty nurse to administer her central venous line by the family's insurance company after it was not deemed medically necessary, needlessly subjecting Dream to potential harm.
"Adjusting to home life following a hospital stay is hard enough - it shouldn't be made harder by forcing family members to provide care that requires specific training such as administering a central venous line," Governor Cuomo said. "By signing this common sense measure into law we can help ensure there's a plan in place before patients are discharged from the hospital and so they get the care they need on the way to recovery at home. I want to thank Dream and her mother Diane who took a difficult situation and courageously turned it into action that will benefit countless other New Yorkers."
At the age of 5 Dream Shepherd suffered a stroke as a result of her debilitating Sickle Cell Disease. In 2014, Dream received a stem cell transplant as part of her treatment against the disease and had a central venous line put into her heart while in the hospital. Central venous lines must be administered and properly managed by highly skilled medical professionals given the high risk for infections as well as other complications, which are especially dangerous for individuals, like Dream, who have compromised immune systems.
Once Dream was discharged from the hospital, her mother requested a medical professional to administer and care for Dream's central venous line, but their insurance company denied her request after it was not deemed medically necessary. As a result of this inexcusable decision, Dream's mother was forced to provide the necessary care for her central venous line without having the proper skills to do so - needlessly subjecting Dream to potential harm and forcing her mother to remain at home risking her job security. The measure requires the caregiver of patients being discharged with conditions requiring a central venous line be offered a consultation on the administration of medication, central venous line care and other appropriate information within 24 hours to prevent similar circumstances in the future.
Senator David Carlucci said, "Thank you to Dream and her mother, Diana for not giving up on this fight. I am so proud to have gotten this important bill across the finish line. Now thousands of New Yorkers will not face the impossible situation Dream and her mother were left in and patients with a Central Venus Line will get the experienced care they need upon discharge. Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this healthcare reform into law."
Assemblymember Sandy Galef said, "With this new law, patients discharged from a hospital with a central venous line or other serious health needs will have access to a qualified medical caregiver. Prior to this bill's passage patients with a central venous line, which requires careful medical attention, were being discharged without access to adequate medical assistance. This law ensures that these patients get the best care possible."