A nurse is heard on a 911 call refusing the dispatcher’s pleas to perform CPR on an independent living resident. When asked “Is there anyone at this facility that is willing to help this woman and not let her die?” The nurse calmly responds, “Not at this time.” The woman later died and though her family is satisfied, most who have heard the recording are outraged.
Independent living facility resident Lorraine Bayless, 87, collapsed in the facility’s dining room at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, California, at around 11:07 a.m. on February 26, 2013. Someone called 911 and put the nurse, Coleen, on the phone. The nurse was advised by Bakersfield Fire Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson that Bayless was not breathing often enough to survive. Halvorson instructed the nurse to begin CPR, but the nurse refused on the grounds that facility policy prohibited her from doing so. Also her boss was allegedly standing over her telling her not to perform CPR. The boss did not get on the phone.
That Friday the administrator of the facility confirmed the policy that employees call 911, but do not attempt CPR on residents of the independent living facility. They are, however, free to perform CPR at the assisted and skilled facilities, which, perhaps not coincidentally, bring in much more money. Bayless, it should be noted, was not a DNR (do not resuscitate) resident and would have had a reasonable expectation of receiving CPR if she needed it. It is not clear if she was aware of the policy, though Executive Director at Glenwood Jeffrey Toomer said that all residents are. A copy of that policy has not been released.
The recording of the 911 call has been released to the public.