We were shocked to hear about the death of 87-year- old Glenwood Gardens resident Lorraine Bayless, of Bakersfield, California. Miss Lorraine died while a nurse had called 911. The nurse would not administer CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
During the agonizing crucial minutes the 911 operator, Tracey Halvorson, begged the nurse to give Miss Lorraine CPR or to at least find someone else who would.
We have learned it is not the policy of the Glenwood Gardens’ independent living community to administer CPR in emergencies. Those residents of their nearby assisted living and skilled nursing facilities can receive CPR, however.
Granted, the facility clearly states CPR help is not included in the contract residents must sign before moving in. Everyone is supposed to understand that because it is all in writing.
Somehow 911 Operator Halvorson had not been given the memo and didn’t understand that. Frankly, I don’t understand it either.
This story is very different from the many stories of people who have been saved right off sidewalks because someone knew CPR and cared enough to administer it.
A few years ago, I attended church with a man whose life was in fact saved in a grocery store when he collapsed from a heart attack. CPR was given to him by a good Samaritan stranger and he lived to tell the tale.
That was a far cry from a situation many years ago, when my family was going out to eat on a Sunday afternoon when I was nine. We arrived at a cafeteria in Nashville to find total chaos.
A man had just died while eating with his family. I saw his body on the floor surrounded by his teen aged daughters who were crying uncontrollably.
I’ll never forget it and I can still describe the tiniest detail of the scene including what one of the girls was wearing.
My parents explained to me the cafeteria didn’t have oxygen for the man. Maybe they could have saved him. We’ll never know.
Things have improved a lot since that October Sunday in 1965, or have they?
I was particularly taken back by the nurse’s attitude during the call concerning Miss Lorraine. She spent a lot of time explaining why she couldn’t help, and why she couldn’t get anyone else to help. The clock was ticking-fast.
Our advice is to read the fine print very carefully before you sign for any facility. Know what the nurses do and don’t do. Think long and hard before you incorporate the do not resuscitate clause. Keep in mind some facilities simply don’t provide CPR no matter how much a 911 Operator begs them to. Their reasoning seems to be CPR is dangerous to give to an elderly person.
But what about the other choice of not giving CPR? Isn’t that also dangerous?
If you aren’t satisfied with the policy of a facility, try out the next one in the phone book. There are plenty of them around.
Tags: Money, Social