Police Investigating Death of Senior Denied CPR

Bakersfield police are investigating the death of 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless who died after collapsing on the dining room floor of the Glenwood Gardens independent living retirement center. Bayless was denied CPR by the resident services director of the California facility and died later that day after being transported by emergency services to a local hospital.

Though the director called 911, when the dispatcher told the woman Bayless needed CPR, the woman refused citing company policy. The woman refused the dispatcher’s requests to get someone else to perform CPR saying they were waiting for emergency services to arrive to help Bayless. According to the executive director of the facility, the woman followed company policy by not performing CPR. “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 personnel arrives,” BBC News reports a written statement from Jeffrey Toomer says. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21664236)

According to the Associated Press (AP), Brookdale Senior Living, the parent company of Glenwood Gardens later issued a statement saying that the resident services director of the facility misinterpreted its policy in refusing to perform CPR. “This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents. Glenwood Gardens is conducting a full internal investigation.” The resident services director is currently on voluntary leave while the situation is being investigated.

However, the family of Lorraine Bayless issued a statement to the AP saying that “It was our beloved mother and grandmother’s wish to die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention. 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.” The statement acknowledged the ethical questions the situation has sparked across the country. “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.” (https://www.wtov9.com/ap/ap/health/calif-woman-dies-after-nurse-refuses-to-do-cpr/nWg2G/)

The refusal of the director to perform CPR at the dispatcher’s insistence has raised ethical red flags and sparked outrage across the U.S. Some, including the head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York are calling the woman’s actions “inexcusable.”, believing that we are ethically and morally obligated to follow the directions given by 911 dispatchers once we place the call. However, though medical facilities are required to perform CPR, Glenwood Gardens has not defined the facility as such. The fact that Bayless did not have a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) order on file at the facility creates even more legal liability questions. (https://abcnews.go.com/Health/refusal-give-cpr-elderly-woman-probed-police/story?id=18648941)

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