HARRISBURG – June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that requires Illinois’ hospitals to institute policies and procedures that will enable staff to readily gain access to patient bathrooms. The law is named after 22-year-old Iraq War Veteran Seth Sanders, who died in September 2009 when hospital personnel could not gain access to his bathroom.
“Seth Sanders is a hero whose tragic death reminds us all that we must be vigilant in constantly improving hospital safety,” said Governor Quinn. “Today I am proud to honor his memory by signing Seth’s Law, hopefully preventing this horrible tragedy from ever happening in Illinois.”
Seth Sanders served in the Iraq War, where his unit removed improvised explosive devices. After returning from his deployment last year he moved from his West Frankfort home in Southern Illinois to Nevada, where he underwent heart surgery. Approximately two weeks after the surgery, Sanders collapsed in the hospital bathroom. Hospital employees were unable to quickly locate a key and reach him in time to save his life.
House Bill 5764 requires hospitals in Illinois to implement policies and procedures that will enable staff to quickly gain access to a locked bathroom in a patient's room. While many Illinois hospitals already have procedures in place, this bill ensures that every hospital establishes these potentially life-saving measures.
"Seth was an amazing son and we don't want what happened to him to happen to another family," said Maureen Sanders, Seth’s mother. "Seth is from Illinois so we wanted to pass his law here first and hopefully see it go forward and pass in other states.”
The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and was sponsored by Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton). The law takes effect Jan. 1.