PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – A criminal investigation has begun after a nurse in California refused to perform CPR on a patient who collapsed in her independent living home.
The 911 dispatcher pleaded with the nurse to give the 87-year-old victim CPR to save her life, but the nurse explained, “they were not allowed to do it.”
Lorraine Bayless collapsed and died on the floor of the dining room at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, Calif. The incident sparked reviews on the policies of senior living centers in regards to intervening in medical emergencies.
The professionals at the living center believe that even if the nurse would have performed CPR, Bayless still would have died. Firefighters and police are looking into why the nurse refused to perform CPR because Bayless did not have a do-not-resuscitate on file.
Spokesman for the California Board of Registered Nursing, Russ Heimerich, told the Associated Press that, “If they are a nurse and if they are at work as a nurse, then they should be offering the appropriate medical care.”
Mike Pintek took a deeper look into the rules and regulations behind performing CPR. He spoke with Allegheny General Hospital Emergency Medicine Physician and Chief of Medical Ethics, Dr. Arvind Venkat, about CPR.
Dr. Venkat believes that all elderly people should have a discussion with their doctors about the damages to their body by performing CPR. He believes that everyone needs to be aware that there are risks in using CPR, but it’s a trade off to potentially save your life.
He adds that CPR doesn’t always work as easy as it seems on television, “It puts pressure on their chests and with brittle bones they could break, but it could save their life.”
Dr. Venkat wasn’t too sure about why the policies of this center would allow nurses to stand by and watch a person die. As a medical professional he states they should, “Always apply their knowledge and skills to the best of their ability,” in every situation.
Mike questioned how a doctor or nurse would be able to tell the difference between someone choking or someone dying. The two agreed that the policies need to be reviewed in hopes that this incident won’t be repeated.
Mike Pintek is live weekday’s noon to 3 p.m. only on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA!