In this day and age has it really graduated to the point that people refuse to perform CPR to save others’ lives? In this lawsuit-happy world, it is no big surprise that people hesitate to help others but when we hear about a nurse shying away from saving someone’s life it seems to hit a little harder.
NBC News reports today that a nurse at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in Bakersfield, California, refused to perform CPR on an elderly woman earlier this week. Just to set the record straight, the patient did not have a do-not-resuscitate order.
The nurse followed the proper protocol of the facility which was to call 911. Dispatcher Tracy Halvorson begged the woman on the phone to start CPR on the eighty-seven year old. Halvorson pleaded, “It’s a human being. Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
The response sounds almost ridiculous. The nurse replied, “Um … not at this time.”
The nurse shared with the dispatcher that she refused to give the woman CPR because it was against the facility’s policy for staff to do so.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Lorraine Bayless was passed out in the facility’s dining room and barely breathing.
Once the dispatcher realized that she was not getting anywhere with the nurse, she asked her to find someone who would be willing to help. Halvorson stated that she would talk someone through performing CPR.
She stated, “Give the phone to that passerby, that stranger … this woman’s not breathing enough. She’s going to die if we don’t get this started. I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient.”
The recording picked up the nurse talking in the background. “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.”
The ambulance arrived a few minutes later but unfortunately Lorraine did not survive. She was later pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital Southwest.
The facility’s executive director, Jeffrey Toomer, sent a statement on behalf of Glenwood Gardens to KGET, the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield. “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,” the statement said, according to the station.
The statement also said a "thorough internal review of the matter'' would be conducted.
Bayless' daughter told a reporter at the NBC affiliate that she was also a nurse and was satisfied with the care her mother received.
There are plenty of facilities around the nation that have policies similar to the one that Glenwood Gardens has. Before checking yourself or a loved one into one, you may want to read the fine print if this is an issue for you.