GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Emotions are running high on Long Island, as many in the medical community, neighbors and friends have come out to support a registered nurse whose son needs her full time care.
A bill in his honor is being debated, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Christine Scheppa and her children had just returned from Italy.
“On the night of May 29, 2016, I received a phone call that would change my life forever,” Scheppa said.
Her son, Vincent, a recent graduate of Garden City High School, was in a skateboarding accident, and left with permanent catastrophic injuries.
“I haven’t been able to grieve my son’s accident. I go from taking care of him, then going to a hospital,” Scheppa said.
Scheppa, a registered professional emergency room nurse, has been fighting for the right to stay in her home and be paid as an RN to be her son’s caregiver.
“If I were Vincent I would want my mother to take care of me and it saddens me that I’m not allowed to,” she said.
Her efforts, however, may pay off.
“‘The Vincent Scheppa Law’ passed unanimously this week, permitting registered nurses to take on the private duty care of a disabled relative and get paid at a nurse’s rate,” state Sen. Kevin Thomas said.
It passed in the Senate and now has bipartisan support in the Assembly.
In the past, similar bills were knocked down by lawmakers concerned about conflict of interest. Could emotions overwhelm or compromise care-giving? Would the relative feel duty-bound 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
“We’ve got to make sure they’ve got the distance and the support necessary to be successful,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children’s Association.
“Aside from the nursing shortage, as young adults like Vince go through this process it’s harder to find nurses to care for them, because they get bigger and the work is much harder,” added Nancy Speller of St. Mary’s Healthcare for Children.
Scheppa said she needs to make the most of the time she has left with her son.
“I don’t know how much longer he has to live, but I would like it to be with me for the best care possible,” she said.
Scheppa, who spends hours commuting and working in hospitals, wants those precious days instead at home with her gravely ill son.
The bill allows care giving among parents, children and other relatives, but not between spouses.