1. ITV Report

Elderly woman dies after nurse refuses to perform CPR

File picture of a heart monitor. Photo: PA Wire

An elderly woman died in hospital after a nurse refused to administer CPR at a retirement home in California.

Lorraine Bayless, a 87-year-old resident at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, collapsed in the dining room at around 11am on February 26.

A nurse called the emergency services on 911 but refused to perform CPR when instructed to, citing Glendwood Gardens policy.

During the call, which lasted for more than seven minutes, dispatcher Tracey Halvorson urged the nursed to "hand the phone to a passerby" or "any citizens there" if she could not perform the urgently needed CPR.

Halvorson added: "This woman's not breathing enough. She's going to die if we don't get this started. Do you understand?"

The member of staff replied: "I understand. I am a nurse. But I can't have have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR...I can not do that."

The dispatcher tried to assure the nurse that Glenwood Gardens could not be sued if anything went wrong in attempts to resuscitate the resident, saying the local emergency medical system "takes the liability for this".

Halvorson pleaded with the nurse saying: "Is there anybody who works there that is willing to do it. Or are we going to let this lady die?

"We can't wait. She can't wait right now. She stopping breathing. She can't wait for them (the fire service) to get there."

Bayless had no pulse and was not breathing when fire crews reached her and she later died in hospital. Police are now investigating the incident.

Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director of Glenwood Gardens, defended the nurse in a written statement, saying she had followed the facility's policy.

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. That is the protocol we followed.