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Woman Dies When Nurse Refuses to Provide CPR

While nursing homes provide medical care to its clients, independent living facilities generally do not. This reality was clarified recently at a nursing home when a nurse refused to save a dying 87 year old at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield. Apparently, the facility had different independent levels of care as they had both a nursing home as well as independent living. The 87 year old woman was a resident in the independent living center. When she fell over, 911 was called for help to come. The 911 operator pleaded with the nurse to help the woman. However, the nurse refused to help or provide CPR, saying it was against the facilities policy as the woman was not a part of the nursing facility. The 87 year old died.

The nurse has come under public scrutiny by officials and reporters. However, the executive director for the facility, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the nurse, stating that she followed the facility's policy. He said, "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." The director did offer condolences to the family.

During the dispatch call with 911, the operator told the nurse, "I understand if your boss is telling you, you can't do it," the dispatcher said. "But ... as a human being ... you know, is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?" The nurse replied, "Not at this time." An investigation has been initiated looking into the policy as well as potential criminal activity. However, there is no news of a criminal defense attorney or any official criminal charges.

The policy is likely a legal decision developed by the facility to limit liability. There is no information on whether any lawyers are filing personal injury claims such as wrongful death.