The nurse who refused to give CPR to an elderly resident even though a 911emergency dispatcher pleaded with the nurse to do something, told the dispatcher that no one could help the unconscious woman, “Not at this time.” When Bakersfield fire dispatcher Tracey Halvorson begged the nurse on the other end of the line “It’s a human being. … Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” the nurse’s answer was that it was against the independent living facility’s policy to do so, reported The Los Angeles Times on March 2, 2013.
The 911 tape which has been released by the Bakersfield Fire Department documents the desperate plea by the dispatcher for helping 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless who was a resident at the Glenwood Gardens independent senior retirement living facility in Bakersfield, Calif.
Lorraine Bayless did not have a do-not-resuscitate order.
On Tuesday around 11 a.m., Lorraine Bayless passed out in the facility’s dining room while eating. She was barely breathing.
According to the 911 tape, the nurse told the dispatcher that she was an employee at Glenwood Gardens. When the nurse refused to give Lorraine Bayless CPR because it was against the facility’s policy to do so, the dispatcher can be heard on the 911 tape asking the nurse to find a passerby, a gardener, or anyone who would be willing to help until the ambulance would arrive.
“I understand if your facility is not willing to do that,” the dispatcher can be heard saying on the 911 tape. “Give the phone to that passerby … 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.”
When the dispatcher pleads again and asks the nurse if she can’t do something for the woman, the nurse answers, “Not at this time.”
After having listened to the dispatcher’s desperate plea to do something for Lorraine Bayless, the nurse can be heard on the tape talking to someone else at the retirement facility.
“She’s yelling at me … 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.”
When the dispatcher asked the nurse if she was going to let the woman die, the nurse said, “That’s why we called 911.”
After the ambulance had arrived and the 911 call had ended, Lorraine Bayless was taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
If the nurse would have provided CPR to 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless, Lorraine might have had some broken ribs but she would most likely still be alive.
In response to the nurse’s refusal to give CPR, Glenwood Gardens executive director Jeffrey Toomer stated that a "thorough internal review of the matter" would be conducted but that according to facility policy, “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.”
Does waiting include not doing any life-saving procedure? Is the life of an 87-year-old woman not worth saving?