An 87-year-old woman died last week after a staff member at her senior living facility refused to administer CPR when the woman lost consciousness and collapsed.
A nurse at Glenwood Gardens, a prestigious retirement community in Bakersfield, Calif., claimed she was following policy by not resuscitating 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless on Tuesday, even though the 911 operator told her that EMS assumed liability.
In the first several minutes of the 911 call, released by the Bakersfield Fire Department, dispatch operator Tracey Halvorson is heard pleading with the unidentified nurse to help Bayless, who had passed out in the facility's dining room while eating.
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"I understand if your facility is not willing to do [perform CPR]," Halvorson is heard telling the nurse. "She's going to die if we don't get this started. Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please… I don't understand why you’re not willing to help this patient."
The nurse was then overheard talking to someone else at the facility.
"She's yelling at me," she said of Halvorson, "and saying we have to have one of our residents perform CPR. I'm feeling stressed, and I'm not going to do that, make that call."
"It's a human being," Halvorson said. "Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
The woman paused.
"Um, not at this time."
Bayless later died at Mercy Hospital Southwest. She reportedly did not have a "Do Not Resuscitate" order.
Glenwood Gardens executive director Jeffrey Toomer said the nurse followed protocol by not giving CPR.
"In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives," Toomer said in a statement.
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Glenwood Gardens is reportedly conducting an internal investigation.
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