The inhumanity of a nurse – a trained medical professional – citing corporate policy as a reason for not assisting a patient in respiratory distress even at the urging of a 911 operator should result in the revocation of her nursing credentials.
‘Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?’: 911 tape reveals dispatcher's pleas on behalf of victim who needs CPR -- The Bakersfield Fire Department in California released a call that shows how a dispatcher repeatedly asked a nurse at the Glenwood Gardens retirement home to give CPR to a woman who was barely breathing Tuesday. But the nurse objected because the facility has a policy to first wait for an emergency responder.
A dispatcher’s desperate pleas for a nurse to perform CPR and try to save the life of an 87-year-old woman at a California retirement home was met with stubborn resistance, a shocking 911 tape reveals.
“It’s a human being,” the dispatcher says in the dramatic call. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
“Not at this time,” the nurse calmly replies.
The victim was later declared dead at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield — forcing the nursing home, Glenwood Gardens, to defend its nurse’s actions after the life-and-death situation last Tuesday.
The Bakersfield Fire Department identified the dispatcher as Tracey Halvorson, who took the call about a woman who had collapsed at the retirement facility’s dining room and was barely breathing.
“We need to get CPR started,” Halvorson says in the 7-minute call, which was made public Sunday.
“Yeah, we can’t do CPR,” says the nurse, identified as Colleen, referring to a company policy that requires employees to wait for emergency responders to arrive before attempting the procedure.
Halvorson tells the nurse that EMS would assume liability for the call.
“Anybody there can do CPR,” the dispatcher continues. “Give them the phone, please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby, that stranger ... this woman is not breathing enough. She's going to die if we don’t get this started. Do you understand?”
“ I understand. I am a nurse,” Colleen says. “But I cannot have our other senior citizens who don’t know CPR do it.”
“I will instruct them. Is there anyone there who will (do it),” Halvorson says, later adding, “I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient.”
The nurse tells a colleague that she feels “stressed” over the situation and that the dispatcher is “yelling” at her to have one of the other nursing home residents perform CPR.
Halvorson grows desperate, and asks if there’s a gardener or a stranger on the street who might be willing to step in.
Eventually, the ambulance arrives to transport the victim, identified as Lorraine Bayless, to the hospital.
The woman resided at Glenwood Gardens’ independent living home, where employees aren’t supposed to attempt CPR on residents, unlike other sections of the facility.
Bayless, however, did not have a do-not-resuscitate order, according to NBC affiliate KGET-TV.
Still, the woman’s daughter told the station that she was satisfied with how the facility handled the situation.
Glenwood Gardens released a statement explaining its hard-line position. “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, the facility’s executive director, said in a statement. “That is the protocol we followed.” Toomer told KGET-TV that residents are informed of its policy when they move in. The facility does plan to perform a “thorough internal review” of the incident, he added.
Bottom line …
What can I say? The nurse should lose her credentials.