Skip to comments.Elderly Woman Dies in Retirement Home After Nurse Refuses CPR
Posted on 03/04/2013 2:24:33 PM PST by Morgana
An elderly woman living at a retirement home in Bakersfield, California died after a nurse at the facility refused to administer CPR to save her. A new video has been released with portions of the 911 call during which dispatchers plead with the nurse to save the womans life.
During the call, the nurse said it was against the facilitys policy.
Is there anybody there thats willing to help this lady and not let her die? the dispatcher asked.
Not at this time, the nurse said.
The incident happened on Tuesday when 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed at Glenwood Gardens. The dispatcher can be heard begging the nurse to perform CPR, sounding desperate as the moments wore on.
Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby, the dispatcher said. This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we dont get this started.
Several minutes later, an ambulance arrived and took Bayless to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she later died.
Glenwood Gardens has released a statement conforming its policy prohibiting employees from performing 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. That is the protocol we followed, the facility said.
See the video here.
California-based bioethics attorney Wesley Smith, who is pro-life, commented on the case.
This seems like a real scandal, but it needs a little unpacking. Sounds utterly damning. But a word of caution: The woman might have signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. If so, the proper course is to comfort the patient but not try to reviveand, by the way, not call 911. But that does not seem to be the case here:
Jeffrey Toomer, executive director of Glenwood Gardens, issued a statement on behalf of the facility, extending his sympathies to the Bayless family. But Toomer also defended the nurse, saying she followed 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, he said. That is the protocol we followed. As with any incident involving a resident, we will conduct a thorough internal review of this matter, but we have no further comments at this time.
Perhaps the facility feared a lawsuit if CPR was done inexpertly. But a blanket do not resuscitate policy regardless of the circumstances or patient? Big trouble on the way. I think it would be worth knowing if this kind of policy is ubiquitous within the industry.
This may be SOP in many homes. My aunt was found in her bed non responsive in Dec ‘11. The home called 911 and the EMTs pronounced her. No efforts were made by the floor nurse and my aunt did not have a DNR. I did some research and found this to be the protocols more often than not. In looking for a placement for my uncle I queried staff and was told they did not respond other than calling 911.
Is this the new “Death Panel”?
Looks to me like they're trying to avoid any liability from the CPR. "If you've been injured by a medical provider, call 1-800-BIG-TORT"
If it is legal it is totally immoral IMO
they;re not proper nurses per se and they;re only called that due to the elderly home making it look as such and making more money out of the elderly folks who for the most part are dumped off there.
Speaks volumes how they watched a woman die and then the daughter said she has no problem what these so called nurses did.
As for lawsuits then the home said that they have 24 hour medical services etc
then she knows nothing as the home also advertises that the home has 24 hour medical and how the elderly will be in good safe care.
Seems that they saw an old woman and thought the hell wiht that
How does this 911 operator know that she is not breathing enough??? Is she there??? She has a nurse on the other end of the phone. If she is breathing then she is breathing and that is enough until the oxygen arrives.
This 911 operator's insistence on CPR for a woman who was still breathing is a bit much. If she is breathing on her own you don't want to crack her ribs with CPR and complicate any recovery.
My late father had DNR on his medical records, but he refused to wear a bracelet stating as much.
I’ll make a guess here, that the company which owns this facility has been sued in the past over a similiar issue. The issue could be due to non-medical personnel performing procedures better left to experts, and the company was sued and found culpable.
My father’s AL residence, which cost nearly $5000.00 per month for a meals, care, cable service and single room plus bathroom, had a nurse on duty 24/7.
“This 911 operator’s insistence on CPR for a woman who was still breathing is a bit much. If she is breathing on her own you don’t want to crack her ribs with CPR and complicate any recovery. “
I have read that in order to do CPR properly, expect to either crack or break the person’s ribs during it.
She later died at the hospital. Was she in cardiac arrest? If she was having trouble breathing, how about just administering oxygen instead of CPR?
Yep — and if you don’t crack the ribs then you are not going down far enough to accomplish anything.
It seems there are some people that do not believe you or an 87 year old lady has the right to sign a DNR and that a $12.00 an hour low level government clerk functioning as a 911 operator should have the final say in the medical treatment you receive even if it is against your wishes.
Attack the nurse all you wish but the "Call 911 only" policy is due to the trial lawyers. If she had done any damage, and broken ribs have now been mentioned several times, she and the facility she works for would probably been sued by some bottom feeding lawyer.
So the facility has instituted the ""Call 911 only" policy and she, as an employee, is obligated to adhere to it.
You are absolutely right. These CPR advocates are like religious zealots who think that CPR is the answer to everything.
The woman was still breathing on her own. That was enough to just leave her alone and wait for the EMTs and the oxygen.
I notice that she didn’t die at the nursing home, or even in the ambulance, but at the hospital.
I would be interested to know if the EMTs started CPR when they got there and continued it all the way to the hospital, or if they even did it at all but just gave her oxygen.
This was the lead story on the NBC Nightly News tonight. Surprised me but it had more details than I’ve read online to this point. The woman’s daughter said she agreed with the policy and what was done by the facility. NBC brought in Nancy Snyderman, MD, for commentary on proper placement of seniors in facilities and that zealous CPR is not necessarily the correct choice for a patient in respiratory distress.
The problem is that if you do CPR right you will break the patient's ribs on the first couple of thrusts, and if you don't hear the ribs crack then you are not going down far enough to do any good and you are wasting your time.