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CA nurse refuses CPR; elderly woman dies

March 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An elderly woman being cared for at a Bakersfield retirement facility died after a nurse there refused to perform CPR on her when she collapsed.

When Lorraine Bayless collapsed Tuesday morning, a staff member at Glenwood Gardens called 911 but refused to give the 87-year-old CPR.

In refusing the 911 dispatcher's insistence that she perform CPR, the nurse can be heard telling the dispatcher that it was against the retirement facility's policy to perform CPR.

During the exchange between the nurse and the dispatcher, the dispatcher can be heard saying, "I don't understand why you're not willing to help this patient."

"Okay, then hand the phone to a passerby. If you can't do it, hand it to the passerby and I'll have her do it. Or if you've got any sitting citizens there, I'll have them do it," says the dispatcher.

A little more than five minutes into the call, Bayless remained untouched, barely breathing on the dining room floor.

About seven minutes after the facility dialed 911, Bayless was taken in an ambulance to the hospital, where she died.

The executive director of the nursing home says it is their policy that staff does not attempt CPR in these types of situations.

"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 statement read, adding that the facility would conduct a "thorough internal review of the matter."

Bayless was a resident of the home's independent facility, which is separate from the skilled and assisted nursing facility.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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