Lorraine Bayless, 87, needed medical attention after her breathing slowed down at the Bakersfield, Calif., retirement facility where she resided.
She later died after a nurse there refused to perform CPR on her citing company policy.
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.