A California woman has died after her nurse refused to perform CPR, the Los Angeles Times reports this morning. The nurse insists she was simply following policy of the Glenwood Gardens senior living facility in Bakersfield, where she cared for patients.
The woman is reported to be 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless. She did not have a do-not-resuscitate order. Her nurse called 911 when Ms. Bayless went unconscious and began having difficulty breathing during a meal. 911 dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleaded with the nurse to perform CPR, but she repeatedly refused. The nurse cited a hospital policy to call 911 in the event of a medical emergency and wait until medical personnel arrives. The nurse also refused to hand the telephone to someone else in the dining area, for the dispatcher to talk them through CPR.
One can only imagine why a policy like this would exist. Particularly in a residential care facility where patients are under the control of, and isolated by the facility and its staff. Fear of liability? Is that what causes one human being to refuse life-saving help to another? If avoidance of liability was the intent, I believe Glenwood Gardens has made a critical error. Residential and senior care policies like this need to be exposed and changed.
The full LA Times story is here.