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Nurse Refuses to Perform CPR, Woman dies

california 911 tape glenwood gardens bakersfield fire department

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#1 Hum

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 22:35

Bakersfield fire dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleaded with the woman on the other end of the line, begging her to start CPR on an elderly woman who was barely breathing.

“It’s a human being,” Halvorson said, speaking quickly. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”

The woman paused.

“Um, not at this time.”

On a 911 tape released by the Bakersfield Fire Department, the woman on the other end of the line told Halvorson that she was a nurse at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in Bakersfield. But on Tuesday, the nurse refused to give the woman CPR, saying it was against the facility’s policy for staff to do so, according to the tape.

The elderly woman was identified by KGET-TV (Channel 17) as 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless. She died Tuesday at Mercy Hospital Southwest, KGET reported.

In the tape, a different Glenwood Gardens employee said that an elderly woman had passed out in the facility’s dining room while eating. She was barely breathing.

For several minutes, Halvorson begged the nurse to begin CPR, saying something had to be done before an ambulance arrived.

After the nurse repeatedly refused, Halvorson asked her to find a passerby or anyone who would be willing to help. Halvorson said she would talk someone through performing CPR.

“I understand if your facility is not willing to do that,” Halvorson told the nurse. “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.”

The nurse could be heard talking to someone else at the facility.

“She’s yelling at me,” she said of Halvorson, “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.”

When Halvorson asked the nurse if she was going to let the woman die, the nurse said, “That’s why we called 911.”

After a few minutes, the nurse said the ambulance had arrived. The tape ended with Halvorson sighing.

The facility’s executive director, Jeffrey Toomer, sent a statement on behalf of Glenwood Gardens to KGET, the station reported.

“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,” the statement said, according to KGET.

Bakersfield Fire Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza said Halvorson followed protocol and that dispatchers give CPR instructions over the phone numerous times each year.

Bayless' daughter told KGET that she was a nurse and was satisfied with her mother's care at Glenwood Gardens, the station reported.

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#2 +warwagon

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 22:51

Probably affraid she would be sued

#3 +Lovell

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 22:54

Maybe she had a Do Not Resuscitate?

#4 Original Poster

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 22:55

Probably affraid she would be sued


so what happens now? is she in trouble I am confused ? I dont think she did anything wrong it was her choice to save her or not .. she has the right not to

#5 Barney T.

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 22:59

Well, I am a Registered Nurse, and I think that she failed to act.... a violation of her license called "Failure to Rescue". This can get her "nurse" status as well as her license revoked.

#6 The Laughing Man

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:03

Maybe she had a Do Not Resuscitate?

Sometimes this is the case, My grandmother was on the "Do Not Resuscitate" list. Which means NO ONE is allowed to interfere in the event that she was dying, regardless of the situation since Do Not Resuscitate is given at the request of the family.
Yet who knows in this case.

#7 psionicinversion

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:05

what type of f'ing nurse doesnt give CPR. Its like a lifeguard not saving a drowning person, ah well i could but its not in my section of the beach and well its a little chilly... rediculous. screw the hospital for there policy, why be trained how to do something and not do it. i learned CPR when i was 12 (19 years ago) for my lifeguards badge for swimming and still know how to do it, it doesnt need a paramedic or a rocket scientist

#8 ZakO

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:10

Maybe she had a Do Not Resuscitate?

KGET-TV said the patient did not have a do-not-resuscitate order



#9 McKay

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:16

Even though I've trained in first aid. I wouldn't perform CPR on a member of the public. The depth you have to push in chest compressions will crack and break ribs. A colleague at work performed it on sometime on the street who had collapsed and stopped breathing. The person sued for a broken rib and won £2,500 in damages. So I'd just let them die, or someone else do it. I can't be sued for that.

#10 exotoxic

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:18

what type of f'ing nurse doesnt give CPR.


One that is told "if you do it, your fired". The problem lies with the reason they are told not to do it, if they are worried about being sued then the problem is the US culture of suing people for making mistakes.

#11 Barney T.

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:24

One that is told "if you do it, your fired". The problem lies with the reason they are told not to do it, if they are worried about being sued then the problem is the US culture of suing people for making mistakes.


I am a Registered Nurse and what you say is completely wrong. A RN has the duty to respond to suffering people. It is in their license. It has nothing to do with culture. The company that she worked for might have other directives, but a Registered Nurse has a calling higher than a corporate rule. Failure to act can result in a "Failure to Rescue" charge. At least that is how it is in the U.S.

#12 OP Hum

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:28

Couldn't they have at least put an oxygen mask on the woman ?

#13 vcfan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:28

Even though I've trained in first aid. I wouldn't perform CPR on a member of the public. The depth you have to push in chest compressions will crack and break ribs. A colleague at work performed it on sometime on the street who had collapsed and stopped breathing. The person sued for a broken rib and won £2,500 in damages. So I'd just let them die, or someone else do it. I can't be sued for that.


wtf, I would give them £2500,not sue them for 2500.

#14 Titoist

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:29

Here in Canada, an individual whether or not they are trained in CPR will face criminal charges if they do not perform it either through knowledge or direction from 911. Secondly, the person being saved CANNOT sue under any circumstance relating to their saving.

#15 McKay

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 23:30

wtf, I would give them £2500,not sue them for 2500.


That's the damages the person received from court. He tried to argue that his fractured rib degraded his quality of life while it healed.



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