Woman Denied CPR In Independent Living Home Dies

Could this Tragic Death Have Been Avoided?

911_Call_Nursing-Home-CPR-300x171A tragic death in an independent living home stirred recent controversy when an 87-year-old woman recently died after being denied CPR because it was against the policy of Glenwood Gardens, an independent living home in Bakersfield, California.

Listening to the seven minute 911 call is truly astounding.  A nurse from the Glenwood Gardens called 911 for assistance once a resident, Lorraine Bayless, collapsed in the dining facilities. The dispatcher pleaded with the nurse to do CPR, telling her that the resident would die if denied CPR.  In desperation, the dispatcher gave the order:  “Anybody there can do CPR.  Give them the phone please.”  The nurse refused to perform CPR because it was against Glenwood Gardens’ policies and claimed that there was no one in the facility who could perform it at that time.  Once the paramedics arrived at the scene, it was too late. Lorraine Bayless died in the hospital soon afterwards.

Jeffrey J. Toomer, Executive Director at Glenwood Gardens, explained the policy of the facility as the following:

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 also explained that it is an independent nursing facility, rather than a nursing facility, and that the residents are informed of these policies.
The daughter of Lorraine Bayless reportedly appears to not have a problem with the manner in which the situation was handled.  She claims that she was previously aware of the policy and that her mother wished to die from natural causes. In fact, the family said it would not be filing a wrongful death suit and called it, “a lesson we can all learn from.”

It is uncertain whether or not performing CPR would have saved Lorraine’s life.  But the fact that CPR, if performed in a timely manner, may have saved Lorraine’s life is unsettling.  It is difficult to imagine how it would feel in her daughter’s position.

From a legal perspective, the facility has most likely not violated any regulations.  Police are looking into whether there is criminal culpability, such as whether or not the facility has history of neglect or abuse. We live in a society in which employers often discourage employers from taking certain actions in fear of their consequences, without taking into account the moral obligations of a particular situation.  According to Dr. Patricia Harris of the University of California’s geriatrics division, survival odds are not the best for elderly people who receive CPR.  However, Dr. Harris states that she would have overridden the facility’s policy “rather than watch somebody die in front of [her].”

At Aarris Homecare, we firmly believe that when choosing a caregiver for yourself or your loved ones it is important to know that proper care and medical assistance will be provided if necessary.  Every Aarris Homecare caregiver is CPR certified and trained in first aid.  With Aarris Homecare, you can rest assured that you or your loved ones are in safe hands.

Fox News

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