A nurse who refused CPR on a dying patient made headlines earlier this week as a phone call during which the woman declines not only to perform live-saving interventions herself but further says she will not locate anyone else willing to do so caused outcry as it pinged around the internet.
The nurse refuses CPR in a phone call with the Bakersfield Fire Department as EMS dispatcher Tracy Halvorson pleads with the seemingly disinterested woman to at least ask those present if someone would be willing to do CPR on 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless.
As the call continues, the nurse firmly refuses the CPR directive, evading every life-saving measure Halvorson can come up with during the conversation. Halvorson pled:
“I understand if your facility is not willing to do that … Give the phone to that passerby, that stranger … this woman’s not breathing enough … She’s going to die if we don’t get this started.… I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient.”
In the background, the nurse who refused CPR can be heard complaining about Halvorson’s requests and saying:
“She’s yelling at me … and saying we have to have one of our residents perform CPR. I’m feeling stressed, and I’m not going to do that, make that call.”
As the call went viral, the facility in which Bayless resided defended the employee against wide-scale public critique. But it wasn’t just Glenwood Gardens that accepted the nurse’s controversial decision not to step in directly or indirectly to save Bayless’ life — the woman’s family confirmed they had no plans to sue and also said that they support the action (or inaction, as the case may be).
While Bayless did not have a standing “do not resuscitate” order, her family explains in a statement that the 87-year-old woman wished to “die naturally” and explained:
“We understand that the 911 tape of this event has caused concern, but our family knows that mom had full knowledge of the limitations of Glenwood Gardens and is at peace … We also have no desire, nor is it the nature of our family, to seek legal recourse or try to profit from what is a lesson we can all learn from.”
Glenwood Gardens does say, however, that the nurse who refused to perform CPR is on leave during an investigation, releasing a statement Tuesday night:
“Glenwood Gardens is conducting a full internal investigation, which we are fully supporting, and the individual is on voluntary leave during the process.”
In a follow-up to the original story, lawmakers confirmed to the Bakersfield Californian that they are looking into the situation, and one confirms that the nurse who refused to perform CPR seemed not to be aware of Good Samaritan laws that would “have likely released the nurse from liability.”