Glenwood Gardens Incident: Negligence or Not?
Back on February 26, a nurse placed a call into 911 to summon for medical attention to a dying 87-year-old woman at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, California. In a distressing 7 minute and 16 second phone call, you hear the pleas of the 911 operator with the attending nurse to perform CPR to help save the dying senior. However, the nurse refused, stating that it was against company policy to perform CPR on the residents. Lorraine Bayless, who had collapsed in the dining area, later died.
Russ Heimerich, a spokeman for the California Board of Registered Nursing, states, “The consensus is if [someone is] a nurse and if they are at work as a nurse, then they should be offering the appropriate medical care.”
However, according the Executive Director of Glenwood Gardens, Jeffrey Toomer, the woman followed the facility’s policy which is to call emergency medical personnel for assistance and wait with the individual needing medical attention until emergency medical personnel arrives.
Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility and, unlike nursing homes, they generally do not provide medical care to its senior residences. They are essentially apartments for seniors and while they typically have nurses on staff, they lack skilled nursing facilities found in most nursing homes, which are used to provide senior residents around-the-clock care.
The family of the deceased senior has indicated that they have no intentions of suing Glenwood Gardens or seeking any kind of punishment for its workers. They said that it was Bayless’ desire to forego resuscitation efforts and that they understood the facility’s procedures regarding providing medical attention.
Nonetheless, this incident has surely raised a number of concerns on a national level as the 911 call and the story started to hit the media about the policies maintained at senior living facilities throughout the country. The Bakersfield Police Department has closed its own investigation to determine whether or not there were criminal charges to be filed. While the criminal investigation of this particular case has been closed, it has prompted for legislation to prevent this from happening again.
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