Facility Stands By Decision Not to Perform CPR

GlenwoodAn independent living center is defending a staff member who refused to give CPR to a woman who died.

At Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, CA, a staff member called 911 when 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless was found lying on the floor, not breathing and with no pulse. Fire dispatcher Tracey Halvorson asked the woman to administer CPR, but she refused. The facility didn't have a do-not-resuscitate order on file for Bayless.

According to the 911 tape, the fire dispatcher tried several times to get someone to administer CPR:

  • "EMS takes the liability for this."
  • "Is there a gardener? Or any staff? ... Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady? Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger will help her."
  • "Is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"

In response to the last question, the staff member said, "Not at this time."

Christopher Finn, a spokesperson for Brookdale Living Center, which owns the facility, said that, although the staff member is a nurse, she was "serving in the capacity of a resident services director, not as a nurse." Finn also explained that Glenwood Gardens, "is an independent living facility, which by law is not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents."

The executive director of Glenwood Gardens further stated, "In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives."

Discussion Starters:

  • Based on the statements of Brookdale and Glenwood so far, do you find the staff member's refusal justified?
  • What, if anything, else should the company representatives say about the incident?