Woman dies after nurse refuses to perform CPR

An elderly woman in Bakersfield died Tuesday after a nurse at her retirement facility refused to perform CPR, authorities said.

The 87-year-old resident collapsed in the Glenwood Gardens dining room at around 11 a.m. While she lied unconscious and barely breathing from an apparent cardiac arrest, a nurse called 911 but refused to give the woman CPR.

In an upsetting recording of the 911 call, a staff member who identified herself as Colleen explained to a dispatcher that it is against facility policy for her to resuscitate the resident.

During the seven-minute call, the dispatcher pleaded with the nurse to help the dying woman or find anyone else who can:

“I understand if your boss is telling you you can’t do it. But — as a human being, you know — is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”

To that plea, the nurse replied:

“Not at this time.”

Several minutes after the call, an ambulance arrived to take resident Lorraine Bayless to a hospital, where she died.

In a statement released from the nursing home, Executive Director Jeffrey Toomer expressed condolences to the resident’s family and confirmed its policy that prohibits employees from performing CPR:

“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.”

Despite protocol being followed, the living facility said it will launch an internal investigation into the incident.

Though her mother reportedly did not have a “do not resuscitate” order on file with Glenwood, Bayless’ daughter told KGET-TV she “remained satisfied” with how the facility handled her mother’s situation.