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Thread: Nurse refuses to perform CPR, citing policy and stress. Woman dies as result.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Default Nurse refuses to perform CPR, citing policy and stress. Woman dies as result.

    Senior facility defends nurse who wouldn't perform CPR on resident

    March 3, 2013 | 1:14 pm


    The executive director of a senior living facility in Bakersfield defended its policies that apparently prohibited a nurse last week from giving CPR to an elderly woman who was said to be barely breathing and later died.“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,” Jeffrey Toomer, director of the facility, said in a statement on behalf of Glenwood Gardens.

    “That is the protocol we followed," he said. "As with any incident involving a resident, we will conduct a thorough internal review of this matter, but we have no further comments at this time.”Bakersfield fire dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleaded with the nurse on the phone, begging her to start CPR on the elderly resident, according to the 911 tape released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

    “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.

    ”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
    as 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless. She died Tuesday at Mercy Hospital Southwest, KGET reported.
    On the tape, a different Glenwood Gardens employee said that an elderly woman had passed out in the facility’s dining room while eating and 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.”

    The patient did not have a do-not-resuscitate order, according to KGET-TV.

    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.

    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.

    Source: Senior facility defends nurse who wouldn't perform CPR on resident - latimes.com

    Unbelievable.

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    It is unbelievable; however, the place does have a policy that states (from what I've heard about this) that they will call 911 if anything happens to one of their residents but they do not personally perform life support actions. If you're going to put a relative or friend into this place, you better get that straight way beforehand. I'm not defending it, and to me, it's plainly cold and unfeeling that a NURSE, of all people, would allow someone to die and not step in and do the right thing. My ass would be on the phone to my lawyer if I were this victim's daughter.
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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    The last line of the article makes it seem like the daughter knew the deal when she put her mother there, and is "satisfied" with the care. That quote might be out of context though.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    For pete's sake. The woman was 87. CPR would have crushed every fragile bone she had and maybe prolonged a life that was never going to get better. Her daughter understands this and accepts it,so do not judge unless you have been in these shoes.
    My Mother is her age and the thought of someone doing CPR on her makes me shudder. We have a standing DNR order for her at her own insistence.
    I have also seen exactly what happens if CPR is done. One Aunt was lively, enjoyed everything but was elderly. She was given CPR. It saved her alright. She had to suffer through months of failing mind, severe stroke, broken hip and confined to her bed. It was not life at all. If they had just let her go in the first place she would have gone out on top.
    My greatest fear from this incident is that the religious right will seize on it and make it a law whether the family or patient agrees or not.
    There comes a time where you have to say goodbye. I have my paperwork in order so there will be no problem with DNR.
    That womans daughter could have been me. She meant it.
    Last edited by McJag; March 4th, 2013 at 02:43 PM. Reason: left out important word
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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    The author may have meant artificial respiration when they said CPR. I just find it unthinkable that policy would trump trying to save someone.
    Mercer likes this.

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    Elite Member stef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    The author may have meant artificial respiration when they said CPR. I just find it unthinkable that policy would trump trying to save someone.
    this!
    just this part of the article:

    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.”
    makes me shudder - just imagine this happening, she was standing next to this dying woman while refusing to give CPR or artificial respiration. just imagine being in this situation. it's a horrible cruel thing to do, especially because of some stupid policy. in her mind, not following the policy would've been worse than letting this poor woman die. this is making me sick. does no one have common sense anymore?!
    Mercer likes this.
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    Elite Member Fly_On_TheWall's Avatar
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    If she had a do not resuscitate I'd understand. But this is wrong on so many levels.It would be criminal if the person was younger so why isn't it because the person was older? What a cold, unfeeling world we live in.

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    Why the hell would you not do CPR??? I get not putting someone on lifesupport but this is unbelievable to me.
    I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

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    Elite Member nancydrew's Avatar
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    They have that policy for a reason. CPR on someone of that age would have left her with injuries that they would never recover from and make their remaining days even more miserable. I too would have had the same opinion you all have about this, had one of my mother's doctor not discussed with me the repercussions of resuscitating someone who's body is in such a frail and weak state when she was in her last days. My initial instinct was always "Save her! No matter what the means! She must live as long as possible!" but I changed my mind once I had the facts.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I don't know if the woman was in her last days, as she was living in the 'independent living' facility. Which is just an old age community, not a nursing home. If she was living independently, she must have been in reasonably good health.

    It takes a callousness I cannot imagine to do this, even if it is policy.

    My grandmother had a heart attack in her 80's, recovered, and lived to be a pretty healthy 96 years old. I'm glad no one figured, oh well she's old and ready to kick anyway, let her die.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancydrew View Post
    They have that policy for a reason. CPR on someone of that age would have left her with injuries that they would never recover from and make their remaining days even more miserable. I too would have had the same opinion you all have about this, had one of my mother's doctor not discussed with me the repercussions of resuscitating someone who's body is in such a frail and weak state when she was in her last days. My initial instinct was always "Save her! No matter what the means! She must live as long as possible!" but I changed my mind once I had the facts.
    I am afraid no one is listening. This was letting nature take its natural course rather than intervening. I fully understand because I am in this position daily. What my aunt had to face afterward was barbaric and cruel. This is not. Trust me.
    nancydrew likes this.
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I would just HOPE that this facility tells families of all residents that they themselves WILL NOT AND DO NOT PERFORM CPR, but if there is no DNR, they will contact 911 and will WAIT until they arrive before any help is possible, and that 911 might come too late to save the resident.
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    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Maybe I don't know anything about CPR, but isn't there a type where you just tilt their head back and blow into their mouth? I mean, no one was asking the nurse to jump on the old lady and do chest compressions, were they? I can understand they have a policy, but by the same token I can't imagine sitting by and doing nothing and being a nurse too. I'd want to help even as a bystander, much less a trained medical person. To each his own I guess, just seems sad.
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I think a lot of long term facilities are going to move to either dnr or non-dnr models because in an emergency situation its going to be difficult to remember who is who off the top of your head.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    It is sad and bad and very hard on the family! No one wants this, but it will happen for all of us. The grief is terrible but you can't stop people you love from dying,no matter what.
    Yes,Brookie. All families with loved ones in a nursing home are told this and given a chance to refuse. I don't know of any that did. Death is not the worse thing. They have already had to give up all independence, all small freedoms we have. They are reduced to choosing between what flavor cupcakes. They no longer can go to the mall or movies.
    This woman was 87-not 37. Anyway you look at it her life was at an end.

    There is something you can do and I have seen this twice now. You can hold her hand,pat her arm,tell her she is loved and cry.
    I hope to God if I ever live that long someone has the compassion and sense to let me die.
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