If an 87-year-old woman dying quickly at home is a "tragedy", then we need a new word to describe violent murders of young people.
It's possible that the facility in question actually prevented a tragedy: a painful, drawn-out death weeks later.
"First responders said that CPR often does not work on elderly patients, and even if they do survive, many end up suffering from severe health complications."
‘Mom wanted to die naturally’: Family of California woman denied CPR back nurse who did not intervene to save their mother’s life
By Sam Adams
6 March 2013
Lorraine Bayless, an 87-year-old woman who was being cared for at the Glenwood Gardens retirement facility died after a nurse at the facility refused to perform CPR on her.
The family of an 87-year-old woman who died in a California retirement facility after being denied CPR - have said she would not have wanted to be revived.
Lorraine Bayless, collapsed in the dining room of the Glenwood Gardens independent senior living complex in Bakersfield on Tuesday.
The firm whose staff member refused to administer the CPR said the person involved - who is not a nurse - had wrongly interpreted its policy. But Ms Bayless's family have now revealed she would not have wanted life-prolonging aid, CBS News reports.
The family released a statement to the Associated Press absolving the staff member involved of blame.The move came shortly after the company involved issued its own statement saying the staff member's actions was the result of a misunderstanding of the company's emergency medical practices.
Ms Bayless is reported to have had no Do Not Resuscitate form on file, and it is against the policy of the retirement home to give CPR to residents of the independent living complex.
Following her collapse, a staffer who identified herself as a nurse quickly called 911 from her cell phone, but refused to administer CPR, citing it was against company policy. Ms Bayless was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
'Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die,' dispatcher Tracey Halvorson asked on a dramatic seven-minute 911 tape released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.
'Not at this time,' said the woman, who didn't give her full name and said facility policy prevented her from giving the woman medical help.
Christopher Finn, a spokesman for Brookdale Senior Living, which owns the Glenwood Gardens facility, told the Los Angeles Times that the unnamed caller was 'serving in the capacity of a resident services director, not as a nurse.'
Finn would not say if the director was licensed as a nurse.
It was later revealed that Ms Bayless had no Do Not Resuscitate form on file. However, it is against the policy of the retirement home to give CPR to residents of the independent living complex.
Life choice: Ms Bayless's family have now revealed she would not have wanted to be resuscitated.
The executive director at Glenwood, Jeffrey Toomer, said in a statement: ‘In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives.
‘This is the protocol we followed,’ he said, adding that there would be an internal review of the incident.'
Unlike nursing homes, independent living facilities like the one where Ms Bayless had lived resemble senior apartment complexes and generally do not provide medical care. According to Toomer, all potential residents are informed about and agree to the facility's policy regarding CPR before they move in.
At the beginning of the Tuesday morning call, the woman asked for paramedics to come and help the 87-year-old who had collapsed in the home's dining room and was barely breathing.
Ms Halvorson pleaded for the caller to perform CPR, and after several refusals she started asking her to find a resident, or a gardener, or anyone not employed by the home to get on the phone, take her instructions and help the woman.
NBC affiliate KGET reported that Ms Bayless, a resident of Glenwood Gardens’ independent living facility, collapsed in the dining room on Tuesday morning.
Policy: The director for Glenwood Gardens said the woman had signed a DNR form, and that it was against policy to administer CPR in independent living facilities.
The staffer previously believed to be a nurse, who identified herself as Colleen, called 911 and was patched to the Bakersfield Fire Dispatcher.
The dispatcher begged for her to give the woman CPR. Ms Halvorson even requested the nurse to pass the phone to anyone else in the room – another senior citizen, or a gardener. The woman refused, saying: ‘I can’t do that.’
Obviously frustrated, the dispatcher said: ‘I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient… I understand if your boss is telling you, you can’t do it.
‘But…as a human being… you know…is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die,’ Ms Halvorson asked.
By the time EMT workers arrived on the scene about seven minutes after the 911 call was placed, Ms Bayless had no pulse and was not breathing. She was taken to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Her daughter, who is a nurse, later told KGET that she was satisfied with the retirement home’s handling of the incident.
First responders said that CPR often does not work on elderly patients, and even if they do survive, many end up suffering from severe health complications.
Sgt. Jason Matson, of the Bakersfield Police Department, told Fox News that an investigation into the incident so far had not revealed criminal wrongdoing, but the probe is continuing.
Reports of the tragedy have sparked outrage among advocates for the elderly, prompting calls for legislation to prevent this from happening in the future.