87 year old Lorraine Bayless died after a retirement home staff member refused to administer CPR to her upon the request of the emergency dispatcher. According to both the staff member and Glenwood Gardens retirement home in Bakersfield, it was the protocol of the home that she refused to give the woman CPR, which ultimately resulted in her wrongful death after she collapsed and fell on the dining hall floor in the home.
Original reports of the incident claimed that the woman who refused was a nurse, however updated information shares that the woman was actually a resident services director. Whatever the case, when the elderly woman collapsed and fell on the floor, the director called 911 immediately, and multiple times refused to preform CPR on the victim despite the pleas of the dispatcher on the phone. According to reports this phone call was made on February 26, just last week, and the phone call was 7 minutes long.
The dispatcher during this time pleaded with the director to give CPR to the woman in order to save her life, and yet finally after realizing this would never happen she began begging her to find someone in the area, even a stranger outside, who would be able to give CPR and allow this woman a chance of survival. The director claimed that there was no one who would give CPR, and she waited until the emergency responders arrived at the scene.
The Bakersfield Police Department is currently conducting an investigation in order to determine what occurred with the dispatcher and the director on the other line. Michaela Beard, spokesperson for the department, says their primary objective is to determine if any of the events were criminal acts despite the claims of the home. Glenwood Gardens released a statement early today claiming that their employee followed the rules by not giving any form of treatment to Bayless. They state that it is in their policy to contact emergency medical services and to wait and do nothing in the meantime.
Jeffery Toomer, the executive director claims that not only is that their policy, but all people agree to these terms upon moving into their home. An independent living facility means that the staff people are not licensed to give medical services in their time of need, and by law they are not able to. However, the progression of events appears to be very different according to the dispatcher on the recordings of the interaction.
Tracy Halvorson, who was on the phone with the director for seven minutes, claims that she pleaded over and over again for anyone to help this dying woman. ABC News reports that Tracy asked specifically, "is there anyone who is willing to help this lady and not let her die?" and the director on the other line replies "not at this time." The Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza shares that Tracy is a unique dispatcher who works with people on the phone who are harder to handle, and who refuse to follow directions given by a professional.
Galazaga states that Halvorson did exactly as she was required to in this situation, and it is her job to convince responders to eh scene to administer whatever form of help and first aid that is needed to help save their lives. What is so shocking in this situation, is that a first responder to the scene (even a staffer in this case) would be protected by law by the good Samaritan rule if she did in fact give CPR to the victim. And had she, perhaps Lorraine would still be alive today. According to a medical professional, when you call 911 it is your responsibility to do what they advise you, and he also notes that there has never been a successful lawsuit against someone for giving CPR to a person in need.
Believe it or not, in the state of Vermont, there is actually a law that requires citizens to help those in need and if you choose to ignore it; you will be required to pay a $100 fine. In all states, however, there is always protection for people who in good faith attempt to save a life; so the reasoning behind this staffer refusing to administer CPR is truly a question for the public.
Whether or not CPR would have saved this woman's life, is not the case here; the issue at hand is that she refused to try and as a result a woman is dead. If you have recently lost a loved one as a result of this form of neglect, contact Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers today for a Shreveport injury attorney who can fight on your behalf.